Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Majority mine workers not paying tax - MUZ

By Misheck Wangwe in Chambishi
Mon 13 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

MINEWORKERS Union of Zambia (MUZ) says majority of the lowest paid miners get salaries below K3,000 making it difficult for the government to collect enough revenue through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from them.

In an interview yesterday, MUZ general secretary, Joseph Chewe, said the union expects investors in the mining sector to seriously readjust the remuneration of miners upwards so that they could begin to look after their families well and also contribute towards the much-needed tax to the government.

Chewe said MUZ and its collaborating partners would this year work extra hard to ensure that every collective agreement signed would have a positive impact on the living standards of miners and their families.

"Our records after research show that 90 per cent of the basic salaries for the lowest bracket of the mine employees are falling below the threshold of K3,000 and as you know the government has raised the threshold of Pay As You Earn to K3,000 in this year's budget. As a union we are very worried because this means that most of our members will not be paying the tax, and government will not be benefiting as expected from unionised miners," Chewe said.

He said the revelations came as a serious matter because employees in the mining sector needed to get enough remuneration so that they could also pay tax to the government.

Chewe said MUZ was mindful that the mining sector was the driving force of the Zambian economy and the industry was also a major employer on permanent basis, hence the need for mining companies to be reminded that majority of their employees were actually not paying tax.

"We need to negotiate for salaries higher than the threshold of K3,000. This should be the guiding principle for all of us who are stakeholders in the mines, that we need to work together and ensure that in the next negotiations, we need to produce positive results," Chewe said.

Chewe said the government must also show direction and ensure that investors in the mines begin to pay considerable salaries this year, so that appropriated taxes could be remitted to the government through PAYE.

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