By Ernest Chanda
ABOUT 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in Kabwe are at stake as the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has introduced duty on Zinc ore and concentrate exports.
The affected mining and export companies, totaling around 84, have also disputed Central Province minister Credo Nanjuwa’s statement accusing them of attempting to evade tax.
They say the minister should not rush to make assertions without getting full information as it is shocking that export duty can be levied on a product that can only be sold in foreign countries.
Kabwe, which was slowly getting back on its economic wheels, will be affected by the ZRA’s move which has resulted into operations of zinc mines being completely grounded.
ZRA has also impounded some trucks belonging to the mining companies.
Sources at the mines have, however, lamented that “the zinc mines in Kabwe, Lusaka, all of them are shutting down. There are no plants to process the material. It has to be exported. With the duty being imposed, it’s not feasible to export it.”
On August 25, 2022, ZRA wrote to a clearing and forwarding company that was handling exports for the Zinc mines, claiming accumulated unpaid duty of K4.8 million for one company, resulting from alleged misclassification of their exported zinc products.
In its calculations, ZRA has backdated the claimed payments, pushing a liability of over K24 million on one mining company that has also been grounded, leaving workers stranded.
“The Zinc oxide which is supposed to be classified on heading 28.17 is pure Zinc oxide which is a fine white powder which turns yellow on heating since it is in a pure state while Zinc Oxide of 26.08 contains other mineral elements and is in its impure state like your case,” ZRA claimed in its notice to the mines.
However, the mines say this decision is tantamount to “killing a goose that’s laying the eggs” as the zinc being mined cannot be processed locally, hence requiring exports.