CAN­CEL HH ‘FISHY’ DEAL

…Zam­bia De­vel­op­ment Agency ac­cused of aid­ing for­eign in­vestors tak­ing ad­van­tage of tax in­cen­tives to de­ceive coun­try

Daily Nation Newspaper - - FRONT PAGE - By OLIVER SAMBOKO

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.

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