I am ready to listen, Lungu tells EAZ
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he is ready to listen to think tanks who go to him with clean hands and no hidden agendas. And Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president says that the proposed sales tax, which is replacing the VAT system would strengthen the revenue base of the country as attested by other thriving nations which had adopted the system. President Lungu expressed happiness with the revolutionary approach EAZ had taken of engaging government on various national issues to ensure economic growth and sustainability. The Head of State, who also implored EAZ to explain to citizens on the importance of paying tax, was speaking when EAZ leadership paid a courtesy call on him at State House yesterday. Mr Lungu said that he was ready to listen to people who had no hidden agendas and those who meant well for the nation even if they had divergent views. He however observed that people who spoke well about the nation and gave credit where it was due were perceived as having been bought by government or soliciting for a job. “If you portray yourself to be someone who is not serious, just talking anyhow, no one will take you seriously. For us, we are ready to talk with those who are genuine. Like I recently told the church that come and advise us on dialogue as the church, not as politicians clad in church gowns,” said President Lungu. Meanwhile, Mr Habazooka assured that the proposed sales tax would not affect businesses. The economist advised that with proper implementation, sales tax could strengthen national coffers. He warned that bad publicity about Zambia could crush the country’s economy and stakeholders should find amicable ways of engaging government other than washing dirty linen in public. Mr Habazooka told the Head of State that the association had resolved to build linkages with government so that members could offer advise on economic affairs. He said that Zambia’s economy had great potential, pointing out that when some countries were in recession, Zambia was recording 4 percent growth. President Lungu also took the economists on a tour of the State House fish ponds, with a plea that they should help spread information about the importance of fish farming.
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu (centre) shows Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president Dr. Lubinda Habazooka (left) the State House fish pond. This was when Dr Habazooka and his delegation called on the President at State House yesterday. PICTURE BY SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE ©2018