Manufacturers propose key budget measures to boost Zambia’s manufacturing competitiveness


The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has put forward several proposals for the 2025 budget, including a delay in implementing smart invoicing at the Kasumbalesa Border post by six to twelve months.

ZAM president, Ashu Sagar, highlighted that increased costs were threatening the competitiveness of Zambian products, risking declines in local production and trade volumes.

To address this, Sagar called for the establishment of export trading zones by classifying Kasumbalesa Border post to facilitate seamless trade, which would help keep Zambian products competitive.

He emphasized that the Kasumbalesa Border post was a key hub between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, facilitating about 650 trucks per day and supporting 22 million people.

“It is vital for Small Medium Enterprises, generating significant foreign exchange and boosting local employment,” Sagar stated.

However, he noted that smart invoicing promises to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) refund delays through electronic invoicing by producers.

This would lessen the auditing burden on the Zambia Revenue Authority and improve tax compliance as well as widen the tax bracket.

“Ensure strict enforcement in the utilization of the platform by all economic actors once it’s fully implemented,” he recommended.

Read More: Zambia’s 2024 economic growth projections to drop by almost 50%

Additionally, Sagar proposed that the government should remove import duty on raw copper due to its unavailability in the domestic market.

He also called for the amendment of the Customs and Excise Bill to include surtax on imported printed paper products and packaging materials.

“Remove duties on inputs for assembly lines such as appliances and vehicles. Remove duties and surtax for pharmaceutical manufacturing companies importing raw materials and packaging,” Sagar said.

He further suggested that the government should reduce the VAT from 16 percent to 14 percent to cushion the cost of goods and services and address refund accumulation.

Sagar stated the need to fast-track VAT refund claims for compliant manufacturers and extend the period required for presenting proof of exportation from three months to six months.

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