By Nation Reporter
The inertia by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and other law enforcement agencies to take stringent action against tax evaders in the country has incensed the ruling Patriotic Front.
PF media team member Sunday Chanda said it was strange that many firms including the Post newspaper that had failed to meet their obligations had been left alone to do as they wished.
Mr Chanda said it was the wish of PF to see that ZRA acted in the most professional manner by ensuring that appropriate action was against all those who flouted tax regulation.
Referring to the Post Mr Chanda said despite the newspaper failing to pay over K53 million it owned Zambians, it had continued to engage in business with reckless disregard of the court’s ruling over its tax default.
He said Post the situation and many others had put ZRA in an awkward position as people had continued wondering whether such illegal activities had the blessing of the authority.
He said after the closure of the Post the logical thing to do was to engage ZRA and make a commitment on how it intended to settle the debt but that since the Post had not committed itself to paying back, it had remained closed and that any publication under the name constituted illegality and that there was no justification over the matter because the law was clear and that the court’s decision over the matter was final. He said Zambians had the right to demand for what rightfully belonged to them adding that ZRA and law enforcement agencies needed to act within the confines of the law by stopping the illegality that was obtaining at the institution.
“The closure of the Post newspaper is a court decision after ZRA established and demanded for the payment of debt which the institution owing and should be followed to the later because Zambians are in need of their money,
“ This is not money for the ruling party but for the Zambians and therefore should be paid back if the Post newspaper is to re-open otherwise their continued publication of their tabloid borders on illegality.
“To that effect, ZRA and law enforcement agencies should stamp their authority and ensure that the Post ceases its illegal activities because if we continue seeing the paper on the street, we will continue to ask questions as to whether ZRA is not seeing this paper or they have allowed the paper to continue operating and if so, why can’t they open the Bwinjimfumu office so that it can operate freely? The onus is on ZRA to stop this,” Mr. Chanda said.He said the notion held by some people that the Post newspaper was being persecuted by government because of its critical stance against it was misplaced because ZRA was an independent.“Itezhi-Tezhi, Komboni radio and Muvi TV stations have been opened after their licences were revoked. This is because the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) and the parties involved discussed and the media institutions corrected their shortcomings and therefore the Post newspaper should not portray a picture that it is being persecuted by government but pay its debt so that it reopen,” he said.
In June this year, ZRA pounced on the Post Newspaper and closed down the printing plant for non-payment of Value Added Tax (VAT).