Poor tax collection leave African countries poor


Norwegian Minister for Development Corporation Heikki Holmaas has said many African countries are poor because they are not getting a fair share of revenue from extractive industries exploiting their natural resources.

And Mr Holmaas has pledged that Norway will continue building Zambia’s institution capacity to ensure it realizes transparency, openness and control on mining taxation.

He said Norway finds it important to help Zambians to get the money that is theirs through taxation because it is through having a fair share of revenue being generated from mining activities that the country can realize sustainable development.

The Norwegian minister was speaking to the press after taking a conducted tour of the Kansanshi mine in Solwezi today.

He disclosed that the Norwegian government has experience in dealing with taxation issues from its oil industry from which it currently collects 78 %  of revenue from and ensures that money benefits its people.

He said Norway wants to use that experience to help Zambia to realize the same benefits from its mining industry and other natural resources.

He said there has been success of increased tax contribution by mining companies to Zambia’s revenue looking at what Norway has so far done together with Zambia from 2008 and 2012.

“We reckon that our work has been a success and we want to continue working with Zambia to have transparency, openness and control so that there can is a fair share of money going to the people,” he said.

Mr Holmaas said Kansanshi Mining PLC being Zambia’s biggest tax payer and the world’s biggest copper producer, it must be certain that tax and income from the mining operation must lead to improvement of lives for all the people.

He said for now the work of the Norwegian government is to get all mining companies to pay a fair share of their tax and income and also to advocate for openness and transparency to ensure everyone gets their fair share.

Norway has so far helped Zambia with expert advice to the Financial Intelligence Centre in establishing a surveillance system on financial institutions to stop revenues from mining activities from leaving the country illegally.

It has also initiated a tax for development project that emphasizes the importance for countries like Zambia to earn their own money for development from natural resources than depending on foreign aid.

Apart from ambassador Ofstad, Mr Holmaas was accompanied by head of communication at the ministry for development corporation Astrid Versto and Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway Espen Lindbaek.

Others in the high profile delegation were Director for Southern and Central Africa, Robert Hovde and the Country Economist at the Zambian Norwegian Royal Embassy, Jan Isaksen.

Earlier the delegation paid a courtesy call on North Western Province Permanent Secretary Augustine Seyuba.

Mr Seyuba appealed to Mr Holmaas to help the province get Norway support to revive the pineapple industry.

He also asked for that country to extend education scholarship opportunities that will help improve value addition in the tourism sector.