By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
TWO mobile tax offices worth €350, 000 have been unveiled by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) in its effort to enhance tax collection, particularly in rural areas.
The mobile tax offices launched yesterday in Lusaka have been procured with support from the GIZ.
This initiative is a game changer especially for rural areas and have limited access to tax administration, said ZRA Commissioner General Dingani Banda at the launch.
Mr Banda said that the van was a state of the art vehicle that had been designed to take tax services directly to the people, no matter where they were.
“The Zambia Revenue Authority has offices in 37 out of the 116 districts of Zambia. This is where the mobile tax office van comes in,” he said.
Mr Banda said this initiative was part of the ZRA corporate strategic pillar of customer focus and collaboration.
At the same function, German Ambassador to Zambia Anne-Wagner Mitchell, said the mobile tax offices would assist ZRA being closer to its customers in Zambia.
Ms Mitchell, who was also representing the European Union delegation, said the initiative would leverage ZRA’s outreach, enhance taxpayer education and improve service provision.
She also expressed concern at the low presence of ZRA across the country.
ZRA has presence in 37 out of the 116 Districts of Zambia.
“This number strikes me as low. It poses a challenge for taxpayer service provision and often contributes to lower levels of tax literacy and tax compliance.
“It is simple: if taxpayers are not aware of their obligations and have no access to tax services, they will be less likely to make their contributions. And this is where mobile tax offices are so important,” Ms Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance and National Planning acting Permanent Secretary for Budget and Economic Mwaka Mukubesa, said the initiative was an important step in enhance voluntary tax payments.
Ms Mukubesa said the mobile tax offices were part of the Government’s strategy to improve taxpayer education and public service delivery aimed at contributing to maximising domestic revenue mobilisation.
“Through mobile tax offices, it is expected that ordinary citizens and specially Micro, small and medium enterprises were also educated about the various tax incentives that were available for them to take advantage for their own growth.
“These help grow the Zambia economy and generate decent jobs for households in the grassroots,” she said.