By MUKOSELA KASALWE

STRINGENT mechanisms and systems have been put in place to ensure that both the seller and buyer comply with the issuance of tax receipts or risk being fined when discovered, says Minister of Finance Felix Mutati.

Mr Mutati said previously the only way to resolve the issue of non-issuance of tax receipts was through the courts of law.

He said the situation was long overdue and that if both the seller and buyer failed to comply with issuance of tax receipts, they would be followed and consequently be fined.

The minister said this on Friday evening in Lusaka during the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants 2018 National Budget analysis whose theme was “Citizen’s view of the 2018 National Budget.

He said there was need to slow down on the accumulation of debt noting that external debt was $7.56bn while domestic debt was K 44.6 bn bringing a total of K 114 bn or U$ 12.56m.

Mr Mutati said the figures represented 47 percent and that the country could not go beyond the limit of 50 percent as the headroom was tight with only 3 percent remainin

He expressed confidence that debt would be slowed down through domestic revenue mobilisation and fiscal discipline, among other interventions.

” Previously there was no law in terms of the issuance of tax receipts and the only way to resolve it was through the courts of law but now we have put in place  systems and mechanisms where if both the buyer and seller don’t comply they will be followed up in terms of compliance.

“Just a clarification on debt, external debt is $ 7.56 billion while domestic K 44.6 billion bringing the total K 114 billion or U$ 12.56 million representing 47 percent and we cannot go beyond the limit of 50 percent so we have a tight headroom hence we need to slow down and we will achieve this,” he said.

Speaking at the same function Professor Oliver Saasa said the economy could only make significant growth if expenditure was properly managed.

Prof Saasa said he was happy with the innovative instruments and legislation of the 2018 Budget.

He said Zambia had the capacity to produce 10 to 15 million metric tonnes of maize annually compared to the minimal figures recorded.

Prof Saasa said for a long time there has been a bias of growing maize when literally anything in Zambia could produce yields successfully.

He said on average 79 percent of the budget allocation for agriculture targeted the FRA which mainly bought maize or corn.

He said for the diversification process to happen there was need for a change of mindset such as not only depending on rain water but irrigation.

He said there was need to relax bureaucracy in tourism as currently it was a nightmare to open a business in the sector due to many requirements asked for.

And International Growth Centre country economist Twivwe Siwale said the issue of addressing poverty was key in the budget.

Ms Siwale said that social cash transfer allocation had been increasing such as 590,000 beneficiaries last year to more than 7000 in this year’s budget.

 

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