Saturday, May 18, 2013

EITI report shows K8bn disparity in mine taxes
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 17 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

A latest reconciliation report has revealed a huge discrepancy amounting to KR8.8 million relating to payments made by mining companies and what was received by government and its agencies.

Meanwhile, Zambia has expanded the scope of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) beyond mining to include forestry, fisheries and tourism to promote transparency in revenue collection across various economic sectors.

Briefing the press in Lusaka yesterday, EITI head of secretariat Siforiano Banda said discrepancies arose out of misunderstanding import Value Added Tax (VAT) and non-refundable VAT.

The EITI secretariat uses the materialistic method to identify companies which should be captured in the report.

"This method entails us to get to ZRA and find out companies that pay taxes amounting to more than KR2.5 million thresholds and the latest report is based on 2010 accounts and mining companies reported that they paid KR3.794 billion but government reported receiving KR3.785 billion," he said.

"So we have a difference of KR8.8 million and this is mainly attributed to misunderstanding of import VAT and non-refundable VAT because most companies don't fully understand this component and ZRA should help some companies to understand these taxes."

And Banda said Zambia had become the 15th country out of 35 in the world that had attained EITI compliance status.

"This implies that Zambia has put in place effective processes for enhancing transparency and accountability in the mining sector to enable the country maximise benefits from the sector," he said.

"Attaining compliance status also means that the country should now expand its focus to include other sectors that support the economy so that revenue collection is maximised when industry players declare what they pay and the government also discloses how much it has received."

He urged civil society to become active and monitor that revenue collected was used to promote people's livelihoods.

"With mining, we also want to include other minerals such as cobalt, emeralds and manganese. In future, we intend to look at what is supposed to be paid and how revenue was used since currently we just produce reports," said Banda.

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