By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
GOVERNMENT should quickly address the uncertainty surrounding sales tax as it has contributed to the negative sentiments about Zambia’s business climate in the second quarter of this year.
This is according to the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) president, Chabuka Kawesha.
Dr Kawesha said the business community was anxiously waiting to hear what the Ministry of Finance would announce in the 2020 national budget regarding sales tax.
Sales tax, he said, was among key contributors to a negative sentiments on Zambian business environment.
“With regards to the sales tax, of course we have received a position from the Ministry of Finance and we are anxiously waiting to hear what may be presented within the upcoming budget speech.
“So like everyone within the business sector, which ever sector we are aligned to, we are anxious,” Dr Kawesha said.
He noted that other factors which had caused negative sentiments were the maize prices, poor liquidity, delayed Government payments, depreciation of the Kwacha and the liquidation process of Konkola Copper Mines.
“With the maize market, it is important that we have a clear position as opposed to the many statements that are being received which tend to distort the cost of the maize within our market,” he said.
DR Kawesha said the ZACCI Business Confidence Index (BCI) recently conducted on 300 chamber members indicated that most businesses experienced decreased demand for their products in the second quarter of this year.
The BCI, he said, increased by 27.7 points to 51.3 points in the second quarter from 23.6 points in the first quarter of this year.
He also called for a clear and progressive regulatory framework in the energy sector to promote new investments both for off-grid clean or renewable projects.
Government, Dr Kawesha said, should schedule frequent payments to local suppliers and contractors to improve the business confidence.