Govt fails to implement GST on schedule

By Staff Reporter

JUSTICE minister Given Lubinda says it will not be possible to start the implementation of the proposed Goods and Services Tax on April 1st as announced by finance minister.

In her budget address, Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe revealed that Government will abolish Value Added Tax and replace it with the General Sales Tax which she said will be easier to administer.

During a budget review dinner on the evening of the budget presentation, Mwanakatwe revealed that the new Sales Tax will come into effect on April 1, 2019.

But Lubinda said that it would be impossible to start implementing the new tax system on April 1st because a number of modalities were yet to be put in place.

Lubinda said the General Sales Tax could not be implemented on 1st April before a law to support it was even tabled in Parliament.

He disclosed that a legislative cabinet meeting would soon be convened to discuss the proposed Bill.

Lubinda claimed that at no time did Mwanakatwe commit herself in the budget speech to start the implementation of the new Tax by April 1st.

“It cannot come into effect before it is passed by Parliament and if you read the Budget Speech, there is nowhere in her speech where she talks about 1st of April. She made that statement of 1st of April at a Post Budget meeting at Intercontinental, that I hope it can be done by the 1st of April,” he said.

He added, “It’s not sacrosanct that we launch on April 1st. If we manage well and good but I don’t think we will manage by 1st of April.”

Opposition political parties and civil society expressed scepticism the implementation of the new tax system due to inertia and ‘incompetence’ in the ministry of finance.