Kambwili calls for review, cut in taxes on second hand vehicles

CHISHIMBA Kambwili says the newly introduced taxes on importation of second hand vehicles should be suspended and reviewed because “they are not making sense.

In an interview yesterday, Kambwili, who is Roan PF member of parliament, said the rate at which the PF government was “stealing money from poor people” was alarming.

The Zambia Revenue Authority has introduced what it calls standard, precise and predictable customs duty rates on imported used vehicles.

Zambia Revenue Authority corporate communications manager Topsy Sikalinda stated in a statement that specific import and excise duties had been introduced through the Customs and Excise Amendment Act No. 14 of 2017.

But Kambwili, who is also NDC consultant, said the newly introduced taxes on second hand vehicles were exorbitant.

“My appeal to this government is to please; please…I beg you, suspend the introduction of these new taxes on the importation of second hand vehicles and review them. My suggestion is that the more you reduce these taxes, they work on the turnover, people will buy more vehicles. Some of the vehicles we buy at US$1,500, US$2,000, the duty just has to be K4,000 or K3,000. If you have very few vehicles on the market, there will be no people to buy fuel; tollgates will not make money. Napapata (please) let’s go back to Mr Michael Sata’s pro-poor policies, who said Zambians do not only deserve a better life but that they are entitled to a better life,” Kambwili said.

“But today, if you count 10 houses, only three houses have vehicles. We want a situation where every household has a vehicle. So, these exorbitant taxes that they have introduced…these are not PF taxes, they are MMD taxes and for those who are in government and are true PF, please, can we fight to reduce these taxes because they are not making sense. K75,000 on a vehicle…the other tax I saw is K124,000. How much is a motor vehicle? Even if you want money, this is not how you make money. I am appealing on behalf of the poor people, miners, teachers, nurses…they are all human beings and they want to drive. Driving should not only be left to ministers and those in government.”

He appealed to finance minister Felix Mutati and ZRA to review the new taxes on imported second hand vehicles.

“First and foremost, Zambia does not have a manufacturing industry that manufactures vehicles and to put taxes on the importation of second hand vehicles is a direct way of telling the people of Zambia, civil servants, miners that you cannot drive; that driving should be a preserve of the rich. Look, you are talking about a Sedan, some of these Sedan vehicles are bought for US$1,500 which is about K15,000. Now you go and put a minimum of K33,000, more than double the amount of the vehicle as tax…the cost of duty on a vehicle that was bought at K15,000 is more than double,” Kambwili said.

“My understanding of taxes is that it is supposed to be a small fraction of the cost of the vehicle. There is no way…absolutely no way that you can fix duty without looking at the physical vehicle that is coming in. Some of the vehicles coming in are those that were involved in accidents, others have rusted panels, others are high mileage, others low mileage…this government must have mercy for the poor people. There are a lot of fees that motorists have to pay. First and foremost the cost of the motor vehicle itself will go up by almost four times because some of these vehicles just used to pay about K8,000 duty…some of them K15,000 or K19,000.”

He said according to ZRA’s new taxes, there were no vehicles that were going to be charged less than K15,000.

“Inasmuch as the government needs money, we should still be thinking about the poor people. How do you expect us to be a middle-income country if the majority of the people will not be able to drive? Driving in this country is no longer a luxury and look at the costs that are now going towards the vehicles. You have to pay Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) before you bring in a vehicle, you have to pay these exorbitant taxes, you have to pay road tax, fitness, insurance, tollgate fees, fuel level…surely nangu kwena tamwakwata uluse lwabapina. What will remain of the poor people?” asked Kambwili.

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