New mine tax to stabilize the sector-Mwanakatwe
THE new mine tax regime is an initiative towards policy stabilisation and predictability for the sector, says minister of finance Margaret Mwanakatwe. Ms Mwanakatwe said that through several tax measures announced in the 2019 National Budget Speech, domestic resource mobilisation would be strengthened to ensure that obligations such as debt servicing, and programmes related to social development and economic growth were not derailed. The minister said this when she addressed over 30 investors from Asia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Mainland Europe, during a Standard Chartered Bank organized investment forum held on the sidelines of the ongoing Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The forum was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bali. Ms Mwanakatwe told investors that manufacturing, the agriculture value-chain, tourism, energy development, the precious metals subsector, and infrastructure development through public private partnerships, offered the greatest prospects for greenfield investments. Asked about the Chinese portion of the country’s debt portfolio, Ms Mwanakatwe assured the investors that the total debt owed to China was below 30 percent. She assured the investors that measures were being implemented to ensure that Zambia remained within sustainable thresholds for both domestic and foreign debt. Ms Mwanakatwe informed the investors that the process of asset and liability management for the loans obtained from China, which process began during the FOCAC meeting, was now in motion. The Minister also said the constitutionality of debt repayment obligations, made it difficult for the Zambian Government to conceal any debt or to default. “It just cannot happen,” she affirmed, and further clarified that, “the quarterly adjustments in the figures have been due to new disbursements from loans that were previously obtained and for which projects are ongoing,” he said. Ms Mwanakatwe also indicated that Government was resolved in focusing on access programme financing from multilateral and bilateral partners and to a lesser extent, concessional financing, to supplement its domestic resource mobilisation drive. She explained that that the Loans and Guarantees Authorization Act of Zambia, currently assigned the mandate of loan contraction to her office. “Therefore, no Ministry or Province has been able to contract any loan without input from the treasury, my Ministry,” said Ms Mwanakatwe.