CANCEL HH ‘FISHY’ DEAL
…Zambia Development Agency accused of aiding foreign investors taking advantage of tax incentives to deceive country
THE Zambia Development Agency has been accused of unfair practice of offering low tax incentives to foreign investors, such as the 15 percent company tax given to the Sun International, now trading as Avani. Local tourist operators are demanding that the tax incentive be reversed because it was unfair and disadvantaged local operators. The local operators contend that the move has been causing inconsistencies in the tourism sector. TIKAS lodge proprietor, Peter Banda said Government must quickly address the inconsistencies in the administration of taxes in order to level the playing field. He said it was unfair for Government to allow Sun international Hotel, now operating as AVANI Victoria Falls Resort to be paying 15 percent tax when other players in the same category where paying more. UPND president and senior Chief Mukuni, are both directors in Sun International, now operating as Avani Victoria Falls Resort. He said the arrangement was wrong and smells `fishy’ and must be reversed without any delay for Government to collect the correct taxes adding that all business must be treated the same whether local or foreign owned. “Level the playing field in the Tourism sector by abolishing unfair tax incentives given to some hotels in Livingstone, Mr Banda said. He said the foreign companies have taken advantage of the incentives given to them by changing names and ownership every five years to avoid paying certain taxes. ‘’At the end of every five years, these foreign companies have mastered the art of deceiving the country out of the much needed revenue by changing the names or ownership in order to avoid paying. Currently the playing field is not levelled and so Government must ensure that this injustice is rectified,” he said. Mr. Banda also called for prudent use of the tourism levy saying currently, the money being collected as tourism levy in Siavonga, is not benefitting the area in terms of development of the sector but instead is used for other things. He said the tourism levy must be ploughed back in development of tourism sites such as the Namoomba hot springs, Nankwilimba caves and Chirunduchihuwa and training of workers in the hospitality industry.
UPND leader and Chief Mukuni, are both directors in Sun International, now operating as Avani Victoria Falls Resort.