Mufulira Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, Luckson Ndhlovu, has said that the proposed levy on mobile money transactions should be cautiously implemented.
Ndhlovu in an interview with Zambia Monitor on Saturday feared that some people would be forced out of the mobile money platform if not carefully implemented.
“The mobile money platform continues accommodating a lot of people who cannot meet the minimum standards of opening a bank account, so this enhances liquidity, ” he stated.
Ndhlovu said although the amount looked negligible, the cost of transaction would be costly.
He said should people start withdrawing from the mobile money platforms, the financial ‘fitness’ would be compromised which could in the long run affect the economy.
Although the attempt at levying mobile money transactions was meant to broaden the tax base, Ndhlovu maintained the levy needed to be relooked at.
According to Finance and National Development Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, in 2022, mobile money transactions was estimated to be around K190 billion, surpassing the national budget which was estimated at K167 billion in the year under consideration.
Keen watchers of the economy say this might have prompted Musokotwane to tap into the mobile money platform to strengthen the country’s shrinking fiscal space.
Musokotwane proposed the fee structure of between K1 to K150, 0.08 Ngwee.
Above K150 to K300, 0.10 Ngwee.
He also proposed that any amount above K300 to K500; 0.20 Ngwee. And above K500 to K1,000, 0.50 Ngwee.
The other range was above K1,000 to K3,000, 0.80, above K3,000 to K5,000, K1.00 above K5,000 to K10,000, K1.50 and above K10,000 to K1.8.
Meanwhile, Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament, Kalalwe Mukosa, has called on the government to reconsider the proposal of charging person to person mobile money transactions under the 2024 national budget.
Government under the 2024 national budget had proposed to introduce a tax on person to person mobile money transactions in order to raise more revenue to a tune of K1 billion to finance the budget.
Mukosa said even though this would allow government to raise about K1 billion, the move would be unbearable to the poor majority especially that rich peoledoing bank to bank transactions are not taxed.
Addressing a media briefing in Lusaka on Thursday, Kalalwe wondered why government did not put a charge on bank to bank transfer but opted to charge the poor majority Zambians under the current economic conditions.
“The decision was unfair and should be removed to avoid increasing the negative economic impact,” he said.
Kalalwe said it was unfortunate that government exempted the mines from paying such taxes which resulted in the country to loose K3.2 billion last year but had opted to tax poor Zambians.
He said the country would further lose K2.8 billion through the adjustments which were made to shield mines from paying certain taxes last year and this year.
“Zambia will be losing a total sum of K6 billion annually if this decision was not reversed and government starts collecting such taxes from the mines,” Kalawe said.
He argued that the move would result in people to withhold their money and stop using mobile money to carry out their financial transactions.
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