THE Patriots for Economic Progress are shocked that against all advice, the PF run government has decided to proceed with implementation of the National Health Insurance tax. The NHI will be levied on the gross emoluments of employees at a rate of one per cent, which Tembo contends is arbitrary, with employers required to contribute a corresponding amount. He said his party was opposed to the introduction of the new additional tax because the PF and its government had failed to properly account for tax revenues they were currently collecting from citizens.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we are shocked to learn that, against all advice, the PF and its government have decided to proceed with the implementation of a new additional tax called National Health Insurance (NHI) which is to be levied on the gross emoluments of employees at an arbitrary rate of one percent, with employers required to contribute a corresponding amount,” Tembo stated in a statement yesterday.
He stated that it was immoral for the PF and its government to ask citizens to pay more tax before properly accounting for the tax revenue already being collected through other taxes such as income tax, Pay As You Earn, Withholding, among others.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we are fundamentally opposed to the introduction of this new additional tax because the PF and its Government have failed to properly account for the tax revenue that they are currently collecting from citizens, as evidenced by the FIC Trends Reports which show that in 2018 alone, about K6.1 billion was lost in corruption and its related activities by the PF and its government.”
Tembo further said his party was opposed to the NHI because it was random and did not provide for exemption for the poorest paid employees.
“Additionally, we are opposed to the introduction of this new additional tax called NHI because the PF and its government have a well documented history of wasting taxpayers’ money on inflated purchases such as the $1 million each fire tenders that ‘look like wheelbarrows’ as well as the $130 million (K1,7 billion) Gulfstream G650 private jet for President Edgar Lungu when he could have bought a decent brand new presidential jet for just $10 million, similar to those currently used by presidents of other countries such as Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana etc. It therefore follows that if the PF and its government want more tax revenue, they should simply desist from wasteful expenditure as opposed to introducing new additional taxes such as the NHI to give themselves more taxpayers’ money,” Tembo stated.
Tembo added that if the PF government want to collect more tax revenue, they should grow the tax base by growing the economy. He said it was unreasonable to introduce new additional taxes at a time when the economy was stagnant and poverty levels were rising rapidly. Tembo stated that the new tax would perpetuate more poverty among the already poor citizens. Tembo stated that if the government continued at the current rate of disregarding the cries of the majority poor, it was only a matter of time before they start demanding that poor citizens who cannot afford to pay tax should do so by giving up some of their body organs such as kidneys.
“As Patriots for Economic Progress, we are now convinced than ever before that the PF and its Government do not mean well for the majority poor of this country, as evidenced by the introduction of this new additional tax called NHI. In fact, if they continue at the current rate of disregard for the cries of the majority poor, it is only a matter of time before the PF and its Government start demanding that poor citizens who cannot afford to pay tax should do so by giving up some of their body organs such as kidneys, which the PF and its Government may then sell abroad to raise more money to waste! Zambians should rally together and fight this insatiable appetite of the PF and its Government to tax the majority poor to death,” said Tembo.