UPDATE (23/03/2012, 15:05 GMT/CAT): (POST) Mines should pay more tax - Scott; (POST) Magande questions Chikwanda's windfall tax reaction
Chikwanda describes advocates of windfall tax as lunatics
By Gift Chanda
Thu 22 Mar. 2012, 13:00 CAT
FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has described as "lunatics" those advocating for the reintroduction of the 25 per cent windfall tax on base metals. And Chikwanda says people are becoming increasingly vocal because they haven't seen any meaningful change since the PF ascended to power.
Meanwhile, visiting World Bank managing director Sri Mulyani says the current strong fight against corruption may slow down national budget implementation. Speaking when Mulyani paid a courtesy call on him yesterday, Chikwanda said people think the mining sector alone could solve the country's budget financing challenges.
"There is a misconception by external people who feel that we can get more money from the mines. Even internally, they have been many lunatics who think we should involve windfall tax…but the production costs in the mines are very high," Chikwanda said.
[Oh shut up, you corrupt shill. Copper prices were never higher. If these lying scumbags from the mines can't make a profit when copper is $8000 per tonne, they should hand them back to the State, because President Kaunda kept the mines running when copper was $2000 per tonne. - MrK]
"When you factor in things like the sea and inland costs of exporting and even importing, by the time you get to the market the transport factor alone, especially the inland component will push you to something like US $450 to US $500 per tonne.
[That's a pimple on a donkey's ass, when prices are $8000 per tonne. If 'costs are too high' at $8000/tonne, then they should give the mines back to the state. - MrK]
So that is why we have involved the royalty tax but of course we have to be very prudent. Mining has a long gestation and we don't want to tax the mine out of existence.
[They never worry about taxing the middle class out of existence. Because right now, the Zambian middle class is paying more taxes than the mines. Again, if the mines can't make a profit at $8000 per tonne, they have no business owning them. Give them back to the state. - MrK]
So our taxation are quite balanced at the moment. In fact there are a lot of complaints from the mines on the government's hike in the royalty tax from three per cent to six per cent but we need to strike a balance."
Chikwanda said the country would need to use economic diversification to address the country's budget financing constraints.
[Which you can't finance without going into debt, if you don't effectively tax the mines with a windfall tax. All government projects are pipedreams, if they refuse to collect the taxes to pay for them. - MrK]
He, however, said the government would need to strengthen extension services and shift attention on maize production alone to achieve economic diversification.
"The revenue will come from diversification because if areas like agriculture can deliver then we can be there…we could channel those local resources we put in one crop into extension services and that would improve the productivity of small-scale farmers because if the small-scale farmers do things correctly and raise the agronomy, their production would increase," Chikwanda said.
[Timid crap. - MrK]
"But this also depends on zoning the activities. For example we have been promoting maize production in areas where the crop is not sustainable this has to be addressed…We need to do sensible things and grow things in areas that they can be grown more effectively."
He admitted that the PF was under pressure from Zambians to deliver on its promises.
"People are becoming increasingly vocal because they haven't seen any meaningful change so we are under pressure," said Chikwanda.
"The civil service is a bit slow…because levels of motivation are very low. But the commitments are quiet there, it is just a question of how you exercise the leadership."
But Mulyani cautioned the government on its strong fight against corruption.
She said national budget implementation, which was going to be key in the new administration's fulfilling of its campaign promises and sustaining the support of many Zambians, could suffer.
"Implementation of your budget is going to be very important especially that you are a new government. When I was finance minister I tried to address the issue of corruption but then it caused a slowdown in budget implementation because people were so scared of making decisions. They don't know how to get the trust of the new administration but at the same time have the confidence to execute the budget. So I suspect you are faced with a similar situation," she said.
Mulyani urged the government to accelerate the implementation of the budget, explaining that people would not be patient to forever wait for tangible actions to be made.
"The people expect the government to deliver…you have explained extensively what needs to be done, but I think the challenge still remains on how many of all those good ideas or frame works or concepts are you delivering and implementing? Your government was just elected now the people want the government to deliver what they think will really make real progress on the ground," said Mulyani.