Mtesa lauds PF’s 90 days in govt

THE PF government has given Zambians a sigh of relief in the proposals and changes made so far, says Ambassador Love Mtesa.

Reviewing 2011, Ambassador Mtesa said the past one year had been special in Zambia’s history both economically and politically, adding that the Patriotic Front government should be commended for some of the changes effected since ascending to power in September.He said changes in mining taxation, Pay As You Earn, among others, had given Zambians some relief.

“The proposed increase of the mineral royalty tax from three per cent to six per cent will increase government revenue which should trigger economic growth.

However, we feel that there is still room for the government to consider increasing it further like is the case with Botswana, whose mineral royalty tax is at 10 per cent,” said Ambassador Mtesa, who is Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International Zambia board chairperson.

“The adjustment on Pay As You Earn (PAYE) regime by increasing the tax-free income threshold for individuals from K1 million per month to K2 million per month is welcome. This measure will to some extent give relief to all workers within this income bracket.”

Ambassador Mtesa further said the proposed revision of the corporate tax rate for banks from 40 per cent to 35 per cent would reduce the tax burden in the banking sector and subsequently reduce the cost of borrowing for Zambians.

He also said the proposed reduction in corporate income tax in the agriculture sector from 15 per cent to 10 per cent and the scrapping of user fees in hospitals was a relief to Zambians.

On the reduction of fuel pump prices by about 6.5 per cent soon after PF’s victory, Ambassador Mtesa said the move was welcome, adding that prices could drop further following intentions by the government to cut the number of middlemen involved in fuel procurement.

Ambassador Mtesa also paid tribute to the PF’s position on press freedom. He said the public media for the first time was not serving the government’s interests but those of the public. Ambassador Mtesa said the PF’s first 90 days in office had been a success.

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