• In terms of government wishing to obtain tax from citizens it is a good idea.
• Zambians are overtaxed.
• Government must empower its citizens before taxing them.
An Economist says plans by Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to introduce tax on Mobile Money transactions will broaden government’s revenue base.
Speaking in an interview with Money FM News, Partner Siabutuba said broadening the tax base will enable the country to generate more resources that can be deployed into development programs.
Mr. Siabutuba however noted that there are too many taxes in the country at the moment and citizens are basically suffocated because they have to pay tax for every transaction they make.
He added that government must not be collecting tax at the expense of individuals returning some of the resources as disposable income for them to be able to buy their goods and services because a highly taxed citizen is prone to poverty.
“In terms of government wishing to obtain tax from citizens it is a good idea, I think that talking about broadening the tax base to be able to generate resources by ourselves that we need to deploy into development programs as a country. What we must acknowledge ourselves is that we seem to have an outbreak of taxes in the country obviously because government wishes to collect money.”
“So we must not be collecting tax at the expense of individual returning some of those resources as disposable income for them to be able to buy their goods and services they need every day. We have too many taxes at the moment in this country and the citizens are basically suffocated because every transaction you do, you have to pay tax,” Mr. Siabutuba stated.
Mr. Siabutuba added that government must empower its citizens for them to have money to pay taxes unlike taxing them when they do not have adequate income.
He said Zambians are pay more taxes through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) compared to what mining firms remit to the treasury.
“A citizen that is over taxed is prone to poverty so what government must be doing now is to empower its citizens then tax them, and not tax them then you want to empower them, I think that we need to get this mathematics correct. Empower citizens, let them have the money then tax them. We are already paying a lot of taxes, against what the mines are paying.”
“If you look at what they are paying, if you look at the Pay As You Earn, the money that you and I are paying when our little salaries come, against what the mines are contributing to the national treasury, so citizens are being overtaxed. The idea by ZRA to tax mobile money services is very good but I think that to be able to do that they must put thresholds because if I am sending K10 using mobile money and then I must pay tax, it doesn’t mean any reasonable sense,” he added.
According to Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Board Chairperson Caleb Fundanga, the authority is in the process of figuring out a way of capturing tax on mobile money transactions as people have found a smart way of evading tax payments by opting to use mobile money accounts instead of point of sale machines.