ZRA doubles down on withholding tax on rentals
THE Zambia Revenue Authority says it is actively pursuing the collection of withholding taxes payable from rentals to boost its revenue base. The Authority has this week begun a countrywide sensitization campaign to alert both landlords and tenants on the importance of remitting withholding tax that is payable under Section 82A of the Income Tax (Amendment) Act of 2003. (Read more)
The recent reversal of the mining tax regime, road projects, fuel and maize subsidies and pension deficits have put tremendous pressure on the 2015 National budget. The budget deficit is likely to end the year more than the forecasted 4.6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It should come as no surprise that the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has a renewed impetus to enforce collection of withholding tax on rental income – something that has not been done in the past.
However, they have dropped the ball in the way they have handled it. Bombing people with text messages without proper sensitization was not the way to go. Many people will not comply with this especially because of the way the law is structured i.e. the onus is on the tenant to withhold the tax and pay the ZRA on behalf of his/her landlord, on time, every month! Bypassing the landlord is a mistake and puts an unnecessary burden on the tenant. The ZRA already has capacity and manpower constraints. How will they monitor this? Can they be trusted to enforce this law equally on regular citizens as well as politicians who own rental property? The have a poor track record on that aspect.
Having said that, tax on rental income is a huge opportunity and can contribute significantly to the treasury which can utilize the funds to improve services. The ZRA needs to improve sensitization on the matter and lobby for the law to be tweaked so that the landlord pays their own taxes and has their own records. Key to all this will be sorting through the records at the Ministry of Lands in order to build a database of all property owners.
Fuel pump prices hiked
THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has increased pump prices of petrol and diesel by K1.14 and K1.00, respectively. This means petrol will now cost K8.74 per litre from K7.60 while diesel will be pegged at K7.59 per litre from K6.59. The ERB has also increased the price of kerosene by K0.71 while that of low sulphur gasoil has been adjusted upwards by K0.99.(Read more)
Bank of Zambia keeps policy rate at 12.5%
The Bank of Zambia is in talks with the Ministry of Finance to find a solution in realigning the fiscal policy. And the Central Bank has announced that the Monitory Policy Rate will remain at 12 point 5 percent.
Bank of Zambia Governor, Denny Kalyalya announced this at a media in Lusaka when he issued a Monetary Policy Statement for second quarter.(Read more)
Yields Show Sign of Stabilizing at Tepid Bank of Zambia Treasury Bill Auction
Thursday’s Treasury bill (T/bill) auction attracted K464 million in bids with K386 million being allocated. (Read more)
Cabinet decisions this week
CABINET has approved recommendation by the Minister of Justice to commence the enactment of a new constitution by Parliament in a phased manner by taking to the House non-contentious clauses and subjecting the bill of rights and contentious clauses to a referendum to be held simultaneously with the 2016 general elections. - See more at. (Read more)
CEC Liquid acquires Realtime
CEC Liquid Telecom has announced the acquisition of Realtime Technology Alliance (Realtime), Zambia’s second largest internet service provider (ISP). In a press release confirming the development, CEC Liquid Telecom said that Realtime will now provide communications services to residential and business subscribers across Zambia using the former’s satellite and fibre networks, as well as Realtime’s existing WiMAX network. Further, it has also been noted that Realtime will become one of the first resellers for CEC Liquid Telecom’s ‘Fibroniks’ branded fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) service, which was launched in February this year. (Read more)
Ban on big-cat hunting set to be lifted in 2016/17
TOURISM and arts minister Jean Kapata has with immediate effect lifted the ban on hunting of lions and other big cats enforced in January 2013, but cautioned that hunting should only resume next year. Kapata said safari hunting was profitable and good for off-take of wildlife and could benefit the whole country if well nurtured. (Read more)
Trying to decipher this puzzle that is Zambia by using a variety of publicly available data (structured and unstructured) in conjunction with my own skill/experience. * * *