THE Cleaning Association of Zambia has requested Zambia Revenue Authority commissioner general Kingsley Chanda to urgently effect a tax-break or rebate on ethanol and all raw materials used in the manufacture of hand sanitisers.
Hand sanitiser is currently on demand as individuals and organisations are buying it for its preventive role in contracting Coronavirus.
Cleaning Association of Zambia (CAZ) president Lawrence Makumbi, in a press statement, stated that his Association was joining President Edgar Lungu, the government and Zambians at large in ensuring the Coronavirus was contained.
“Our plea and request to the office of the ZRA director general is to temporally have a tax break on the ethanol which is imported (some of it is on the way into Zambia and some of it is within but the excise duty makes it very expensive),” he stated.
“This product is the most essential component in production of hand sanitiser that is urgently needed in the fight against the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”
Makumbi indicated that all manufacturers in the cleaning sector were making that request to the ZRA to ensure that the price of hand sanitiser was kept affordable for the common man: “so as to save lives.”
“Please, be informed that the prices have sky-rocketed by more than 300 per cent for hand sanitiser, with a 50 ml bottle now selling for between K30 and K45 in most chemists in the capital city. We must state that the raw material is scarce and [the] price also has quadrupled over the past week,” Makumbi stated.
He added that for the cleaning sector to be of help in maintaining stable hand sanitiser prices, “we ask that all suppliers of ethanol and ingredients be urgently given this tax break for raw materials.”
“We must use more of ethanol to manufacture stocks in readiness for the worst days that lie ahead of us and we must quickly plan for the next four weeks as the outbreak trend worldwide shows that it may rise and then fall,” Makumbi stated.
“We must be ready for it by ensuring that we produce enough hygiene chemicals.”
He further indicated that such a tax break would ensure that lower hand sanitiser prices were maintained, adding that CAZ members had assured that they would offer donations for front-line staff at hospitals: “to ensure we help our government in combating this virus.”
“By taking this step, ZRA will join the country in the fight against coronavirus and hence, reduce new infections spreading in Lusaka and the country at large,” stated Makumbi.
“Timely action on this request will ultimately ensure that prices of sanitisers are kept low. [But] any delay will allow escalation of prices to beyond those manageable by the average Zambian. Together we will beat coronavirus.”