Action Aid Zambia has challenged government to be explicit on defining the methods it intends to effect in its escalated tax collection strategy under the 2024 national budget.
Organisation Interim Country Director-Zambia, Andrew Chikowore, said Zambia urgently needed to ensure progressive and equitable tax policies.
Chikowore in a statement issued in Lusaka on Tuesday said government needed to employe serious tools and mechanisms that are influential in ending poverty gradually.
“This was a critical matter as the country requires more revenue to sustain some of the social sectors and the gains recorded beyond the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme,” he said.
Chikowore said it was equally encouraging that the Finance Minister announced that Zambia would join the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information for tax purposes.
“We feel that this Forum will facilitate the exchange of tax information among 140 jurisdictions, ensuring transparency and combating illicit financial flows,” he said.
Chikowore said it was in this vein that Action Aid Zambia also welcomed the planned operationalization of the much-awaited regulatory body for the mining sector.
He said this would not only address issues of tax invasion in mines but also accountability in terms of export volumes.
“The decision to amend the Zambia Revenue Authority Act to introduce a whistleblower reward is equally commendable and should be supported by all patriotic citizens,” Chikowore said.
On the environment, Action Aid Zambia acknowledged the increment of financial resources towards environmental protection in the 2024 budget from K1.06 billion 2023 to K1.5 billion representing 1.4 percent increment.
It, however, said this increase was still low and needed to be increased to create a fertile and sustainable green innovations relating to environmental protection.
“In Agriculture, the proposed industrial cncrease in the production of the agriculture sector and manufacturing industries specifically in fertilizer production is likely to improve crop production,” Chikowore said.
He added that the organization was, however, concerned that the Minister did not elaborate on whether the fertilizer to be produced would be chemical or organic.
Chikowore noted the need to divert and focus on fertilizers that were not harmful to the environment and to invest in a clean and green future urgently.
“Organic fertilizer remains a key mechanism to rebuild the soil’s fertility which has been damaged with the continuous use of chemical,” he said.
Chikowore said Actionaid had observed that despite the government promise to recruit agriculture extension officers in 2023, the Minister of Finance gave no update on the matter.
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