Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) President Edith Nawakwi has charged that the 2015 National Budget has collapsed.
Ms Nawakwi has since called upon the Minister of Finance to immediately present an Emergency Budget to Parliament.
Ms Nawakwi in a statement to QFM News says the reversal of the mining tax regime mid-way after the presentation of the National Budget is an indication that the country is running without a Budget.
She says the FDD has in the last six months consistently been advising the PF Government to widely consult all relevant stakeholders and come up with a win- win situation for both the Zambian people and the mine owners.
Ms Nawaki adds that the FDD has equally belabored the point that Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda was not the right person to head the Ministry of Finance but that this advice has been met with insults and insolence.
She says Mr. Chikwanda is a disaster as far as performance is concerned, stating that Zambia has no shortage of capable men and women who can effectively preside over the Ministry of Finance.
The FDD leader states that this merry- go- round policy implementation is seriously hurting the economy and has calamitous effects on the National Budget.
She says no investor is willing to invest in a country whose policies are not consistent and predictable.
Ms Nawakwi notes that it is clear that Mr Chikwanda’s intentions were to run the mines aground so that he could later allegedly sell them to his preferred bidders, but that in the process the Minister has brought the whole country down to its knees.
She adds that the collapse of the 2014/2015 Budget is not an indictment on Mr Chikwanda alone but the entire Patriotic Front Government.
Ms Nawakwi says this is testimony that the PF lacks intellectual disposition and the necessary leadership tools to manage the economy.
And The Zambia Tax Platform has noted with concern the process leading to the approval by Cabinet of amendments to the 2015 mining tax regime.
Platform Chairperson Mutale Wakunuma in a statement says as civil society, they appreciate the earlier intervention of the President when he directed relevant government units to resolve the standoff between the mining companies and government over the new taxes.
Ms Wakunuma says the Platform is however, concerned at the manner in which the changes are now being made, particularly that these changes are a directive of the Republican President.
She states that this act alone has the ability to erode the institutional integrity of the relevant government agencies.
Ms Wakunuma says Zambia Tax Platform is concerned that the consultations that have so far been undertaken have been with individual mining companies and have not involved all key stakeholders.
She says they believe that if stakeholders are adequately consulted, the country can develop a robust mining tax regime that would bring fiscal stability.
Ms Wakunuma points out that several changes in the mining tax regime have been made over the last few years, which appear not to have been thought through, something that undermines both investor and citizen’s confidence in the ability of the government to effectively manage the economic affairs of the country.
She cites the changes to the VAT Rule 18, SI 55, 33 and the current proposed changes among others.
Ms Wakunuma states that it is unfortunate that yet again, government has allowed itself to be arm twisted by the mining companies after earlier being forced to amend VAT rule number 18 to suit the interests of the companies.
She says the Zambia Tax Platform believes the proposal to amend the mining tax regime will affect projected revenue and collection and therefore call upon the government to clearly demonstrate the measures put in place to mitigate this.
Ms Wakunuma further states that government should also demonstrate how it intends to curb aggressive tax planning and tax avoidance facilitated through the use of a two tier tax system which was the main reason for resorting to a single tier mineral royalty based tax system.
She says Zambia has lost an opportunity to demonstrate leadership in the fight against illicit financial flows from the country and continent.