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Friday, 5 March 2010

The ZNBC (Amendment) Bill 2010

An interesting amendment - The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2010. The central thrust of the Bill is to turn the TV licence into a levy, which will be collected from dealers / sellers of television sets. It appears to be a one-off charge (a flat fixed fee transaction tax). Section 26 reads :

(1) A dealer shall, on the saleof a television receiver or Obligation of television tuner, collect from the purchaser of the television receiver dealer or television tuner such information on the purchaser as may be prescribed and a television levy for one year, on behalf of the Corporation.

(2) A dealer shall remit the levy collected pursuant to subsection (1), to the Corporation together with information relating to the purchaser of any television receiver or television tuner by  the tenth day of the month following the month in which the information and levy are collected.

(3) A dealer who sells a television receiver or television tuner to any person without collection of the levy or the information required under subsection (1), or who fails to remit the information and levy to the Corporation in accordance with subsection (2), commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction— to a fine not exceeding ten thousand penalty units; and to a fine not exceeding one thousand penalty units in respect of each television receiver or television tuner sold.

(4) A dealer shall maintain records of information relating to the purchaser of any television receiver or television tuner, in the prescribed manner and form.
This of course makes perfect sense as  the underlying problem is collection. But it does appears to shift the regulatory burden away from ZNBC towards the dealers. The dealers now have to worry about keeping logs and facing fines etc. There's also the negative impact on their business. It seems to me this would simply encourage more informal trading in TVs! Many dealers sell second hand  sets. I have not seen anywhere in the Bill (please correct me) that says this applies only to new television sets. If that is the case then dealers may well lose out as people informally exchange TVs rather than use dealerships. A possible way to avoid this problem is to simply levy an import levy on TVs!  We produce no television sets! It would achieve the same effect but with minimal costs on dealers. I wonder why this option was ruled out..

There's also another problem buried at Section 31which has fortunately been picked up by the Press Association of Zambia (PAZA).

A Million Words Project Review
New Parliamentary Bills (Not Passed) Not Yet Read:

The Immigration and Deportation Bill, 2010
The Dairy Produce Marketing and Levy (Repeal) Bill, 2010
The Dairy Produce Board (Establishment) (Repeal) Bill, 2010
The Dairy Industry Development Bill 2010"
The Registration of Business Names (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Plea Negotiations and Agreement Bill, 2010
The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2010
The Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill, 2010
The Engineering Institution of Zambia Bill,2010
The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection Of Whistleblowers) Bill, 2010

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