Zambia Sugar PLC says reports by Action Aid, that it has been evading tax remittance in the country were false and inaccurate.
Company spokesman Lovemore Sievu said Zambia Sugar was one of the largest foreign exchange earner and employer as well as the largest single tax payer in the agricultural sector.
He said the report by Action Aid that Zambia Sugar has exploited legal loopholes to siphon KR374m were not correct adding that his company has never engaged in any illegal or immoral activities designed to avoid paying the tax rightly payable to the Zambian government
“The report by Action Aid is full of inaccuracies and we categorically deny it. Zambia Sugar has not been evading meeting all its legal obligations including tax. We are very proud of Zambia Sugar and the major contributions that it makes to the Zambian economy,” he said.
Mr Sievu said that despite Illovo’s attempts to persuade Action Aid to improve its report by correcting errors and introducing more balance into its analysis, Action Aid had decided to publish a highly inflammatory account of the company’s tax position that is incomplete at best and factually wrong in places.
He said Illovo had engaged openly with Action Aid to set out the correct position but Action Aid has failed to reflect this in their report adding that Action Aid has clearly decided that its campaign should take priority over the facts,” he said.
Action Aid, in its report said Zambia Sugar has generated profits amounting to KR550 million since 2007 but admits to paying virtually no tax after remitting 0.5 per cent.
The statement further said that Zambia tax funded programmes like education, health and other services have suffered because “the country has lost revenue to tax havens amounting to more than ten times the foreign aid it receives from the United Kingdom.”
Action Aid Zambia Country Director Pamela Chisanga said the continuous trend by Zambia Sugar and other corporate entities of avoiding paying taxes was depriving poor Zambians from having access to basic necessities.
She added that due to these corporate institutions avoidance to remit revenue to government, the vulnerable Zambians have continued to live in adverse poverty.
“Zambia’s dependence on foreign aid can only end if the country fights to raise the money needed to provide for its own citizens by ending tax evasions. Taxes are a sure source of sustainable income. Taxes pay for critical public services like healthcare, good infrastructure, clean water and many other social amenities,” she said.Ms Chisanga has since called on all Zambians to join hands and take urgent action in ending tax evading among corporate entities in the country.