Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By Florence Bupe
Tuesday September 25, 2007 [04:00]
FINANCE deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa has urged revenue collection institutions to strengthen their collection capacity in order to enhance Zambia's income base. Speaking at the opening of the Non- Tax Revenue Collection Workshop over the weekend, Shakafuswa said there was need to earnestly address the various challenges affecting the process of revenue collection.
"Revenue collection agencies need to strengthen their revenue collection capacity in order to improve and sustain a sound national revenue base that will facilitate the achievement of Millennium Development Goals," Shakafuswa said. "Government has significantly reduced borrowing this year, thereby improving the availability of resources, but to compliment this achievement, challenges in non- tax revenue need to be addressed in earnest."
Shakafuswa noted that improved revenue collection would require undertaking of comprehensive audits and strengthening of all revenue collection points before the end of this year.
He added that failure by revenue collection agencies and incompetence in the collection process would have adverse effects on the government's efforts to become financially self reliant.
He also called for the review of the current non- tax revenue legislation and adjustment of fees and fines to cost-effective and appropriate levels.
He also said monitoring mechanisms need to be strengthened.
Shakafuswa warned that individual revenue collectors and their respective institutions would be held accountable for all collections under their mandate with immediate effect.
"In the past, institutions which have failed to collect targeted revenues have not even bothered to explain their shortcomings. They have failed to justify their collections and little has been done to reprimand responsible officers. This is history now and the 'honeymoon' is over," he warned.
And Shakafuswa has bemoaned the continued delay in banking of government revenue by some revenue collection agencies.
"Another concern is that some of you have continued to delay banking of government revenue. T
his is not acceptable because it results in the Ministry of Finance not having enough revenue on time, thereby not being able to fund regularly," said Shakafuswa.