Enough! Zambians are over taxed

How can a government that left thousands of citizens without a job and a source of income by ruthlessly and recklessly closing The Post and plundering its assets today claim to be saving jobs through the introduction of taxes on WhatsApp calls?

Today Edgar Lungu’s government is saying that it has decided to introduce a tariff on internet calls to save jobs in the mobile telecom industry. Is this true? No. They’re just lying. Their biggest motivation for this is to make more money for them to continue with their uncontrolled government expenditure. The Zambian people are already paying too much for internet bundles to bear another tax burden on WhatsApp calls. Out of this measure, Edgar’s government will collect K18 million per month from poor and already over taxed Zambians – K0.30 per day per subscriber by 30 days = K9 x about 2 million WhatsApp users.

In addition to this, Zambians are already compelled to pay television levy to help Edgar and the Patriotic Front tell them lies everyday, fool them everyday on ZNBC television. And this reminds us what Thomas Jefferson said: “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

Enough! Zambians are over taxed. We think this government of Edgar has reached a point where it must stop increasing taxes as well as creating new ones.

What Edgar has failed to realise is that taxes bring untoward hardship on citizens and stifle growth of businesses.

Many Zambians are starting to feel there’s too much tax and too many taxes for them to pay. This government is digging his own grave; too much tax and too many taxes also hurt business, they cannot expand. Instead of constantly raising taxes, Edgar must look at the other side of the equation, that is curtailing the expenditures of government.

The country’s wage bill is about 70 per cent of its revenue but this can be reduced by cutting down on the number of ministers and other political appointees. And no appointee should be allowed to buy the automobile he or she was driving while in office.

Edgar must also eliminate all allowances given to his political appointees because he doesn’t need to entice them to serve in his government; it is an abuse of the system.

Anybody who demands that he should be given a Toyota Land Cruiser VX before he or she serves the people of Zambia is least qualified to serve the people of Zambia.

There are too many parallel government institutions or agencies that are not helping the national purse: they only expand the workforce and create bureaucracy.

Edgar must therefore abolish such institutions or agencies, including the numerous sardine committees.
And Parliament, as an institution, has failed to do its work properly and has allowed corrupt officials to go unpunished. Parliament has also not been able to carry out its responsibility of checking the government from abusing the system by overspending. And a huge part of our problems, as a nation, lie with Parliament.

And the methods we are using to try and fight corruption and other abuses are just a waste of money. We are not fighting corruption the right way and that is why we are not registering any positive results. We are fighting corruption the wrong way. We should never, never get the government involved in fighting corruption. Think of it, if we are saying that this government of Edgar is corrupt, why are we asking him and his minions – political appointees of a corrupt government – to fight corruption? It doesn’t make sense. This is what we have been doing for a very long, long time. When both an institution and the person managing it are not good, sacking the manager will not solve the problem even if a more qualified person takes up the job and the institution remains the same.

When all the institutions are working well and doing what they are supposed to do then we can say we have good governance. The problem we have in this country is that our institutions are compromised by corruption and patronage, they weak and they are not functioning well.

Many Zambians are fed up and are not pleased with the way things are going in the country. Zambians are facing severe economic hardship – the cost of living is extremely high.

The country has a structural deficit problem where its expenditure is way above its revenue. The government can only borrow to make up the difference, which means government has no saving, it is spending more than its revenue.

Ever since Edgar took office, we have become a nation afraid of taxes. We are really in all sorts of ways being taxed to smithereens.

In Zambia, as in other poor countries with lacklustre public support, tax burdens are not complimented by better public services. In the Nordic countries, taxes are high, but education is free; public schools are better than here. Health care is affordable. No one goes without health insurance.

Robert Heinlein said, “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

And Winston Churchill said, “We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” Indeed no nation has ever taxed itself into prosperity.

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