• MSME’s represent 97% of all businesses in Zambia with 70% GDP and 88% employment rate.
• Government must initiate local private sector reforms for maximum local economic benefits.
• Mazabuka Municipal Council has hiked trading license fees for all business houses by 50 percent.
Golden Party of Zambia (GPZ) has urged the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to freeze any increases in business levies and associated licenses for local businesses by some Councils in the country.
Party President Jackson Silavwe said with tax incentives in the 2023 national budget only offered to foreign dominated businesses such as mining and tourism sectors, it is imperative that government and local authorities do not permanently cripple the local Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME’s)through very high council fees.
Mr. Silavwe noted that MSME’s represent 97% of all the businesses in Zambia with 70% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution, and 88% employment rate and are the same businesses that have been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19, coupled with monthly swinging fuel prices.
“We have read media reports that Mkushi and Mazabuka councils have increased the cost of trading licenses and businesses levies for businesses in their localities. Mazabuka Municipal Council has increased all the fees by 50%. A business permit for example, has jumped from K666 to K1, 333.”
“Before other local councils and authorities emulate this retrogressive trend countrywide, we strongly urge Central government through the Ministry of Local Government to freeze any increases in business levies and associated licenses for local businesses,” Mr. Silavwe said.
He reaffirmed calls for reforms in local Council levies administration for local businesses.
“We further urge Government to initiate local private sector reforms for maximum local economic benefits, job creation and poverty reduction. Only local Zambian businesses can bring real economic prosperity for all Zambians,” he added.
Mazabuka Municipal Council has hiked trading license fees for all business houses by 50 percent. The health permit that was previously set at K500 has been increased to K750, while the business permit has been hiked from K666 to K1, 333 annually.