In a recent interview on CNBC Africa, Finance Minister S Musokotwane defends the current tax regime :
What a joke. These politicians are bought and paid for. They do everything in their power to make sure that Zambia misses out on $1.2 billion a year in taxes from the mines. Minister Musokotwane hypocritically tries to maintain that 'the mines are paying taxes', even though the collective taxes projected for 2010 are $50 million, in an industry that has a turnover of at leat $4 billion and annual profits of $2.4 billion (more today). The MMD is trying to sell the idea that letting the mines keep all the profits is good, because they will invest in more mines, ignoring the fact that there is no guarantee that copper prices will be anywhere near $7,000 as they are today. They want to sell the idea of investment in the mines INSTEAD OF economic diversification into agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure, which would actually create millions of jobs, not the 58,000 that the mines create today. They are bought and paid for, singing the mines songs while appealing to the authority of their education ('professional people' - the same 'professional people' who ensured Edith Nawakwi that 'copper prices would not rise in my lifetime', a few years before the biggest boom in copper prices in recent memory).
Otherwise I have said most of the rest on this issue here at Lusaka Times.On the one hand the minister and government do not have the guts to tax the mines to the hilt.However, this means they would much rather ask for donor aid and go to the IMF, because that way they can put it on the tab of the Zambian taxpayer in the form of loans. So on the one hand the Zambian taxpayer is being robbed of over $1 billion a year in taxes from the mines, on the other hand they are supposed to pay for infrastructure because the government thinks it is easier to get back into debt. That was I think a major thing what the personal visit by Dominic Strauss-Kahn was all about.
Zambia risked incurring huge loans-IMF Managing DirectorInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said today that Zambia risked incurring huge loans if the country continues borrowing from other countries.Speaking at State House today during a meeting with President Rupiah Banda, Mr. Strauss-Kahn advised government to get loans that the country would be able to pay back to avoid huge debt burden.More...
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