VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott has said the repayment of Value Added Tax (VAT) owed to the mining and other companies is within the law and not something Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda wants to ‘cook up.’
Dr Scott described attacks on Mr Chikwanda as unwarranted and that the Finance Minister was above board on the VAT general administrative rule number 18.
The Vice-President said this when UNHCR deputy High Commissioner Alexander Aleinikoff paid a courtesy call on him at his office.
“This matter has been discussed here in my office, at Ministry of Finance and elsewhere. The payment is not voluntary but within the law, it is nothing that Mr Chikwanda dreamt up and requires change, it
is within the law.
“We owe more money to the mining companies in VAT refund and we have to do something about it and not just leave it to accumulate or leave it to our next generation, the money is theirs, “Dr Scott said.
The Vice-President said the question at hand was how the country would pay back the money.
“It is payable unless the law changes it might not be payable, it has accumulated and that is all the minister of Finance is talking about,” he said.
He said the issue of ministers owning shares in companies in Zambia was not illegal but that it was something that needed to be declared to relevant authorities. “If Mr Chikwanda did not make a declaration over his ownership in Sigma Enterprise, am sure it was an oversight on his part. I have been
a minister before and I owned shares in some farms, in a consultancy company, it’s normal in this country and I don’t see any fuss about it,” Dr Scott said.
He refuted claims there were factions within the Patriotic Front (PF) describing the speculations as not being worthy his comment.
“Just be careful on the source of information, any party in power usually has some funny people, but I will not comment on them until they are named. I am Vice president, my job is to ensure the party wins elections, the job which I am doing very well, we won Mangango and we are going to win in North Western Province,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr Scott has urged the UNHCR to ensure Zambians benefit from the integration programme of the 10 ,000 Angolan refugees.
Dr Scott said if UNHCR concentrates on refugees only, there could be problems with the locals in communities where the Angolans would be integrated.
“The locals might be thinking you are paying more attention to refugees and not them,” he said
Mr Aleinikoff said the plan for integration included the programmes for locals where the refugees would be integrated.
He was grateful of the support that the Zambian Government had rendered to the refugees in Zambia for decades.
Times of Zambia