The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has announced that it collected a net collection of K57.7 billion last year.
ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says this outturn was 17.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compared to 17.8 percent of GDP in 2019.
Mr. Chanda says when measured against the Parliament target, this revenue outturn was K1.3 billion or 2.2 percent below target. The ZRA boss said this at a press briefing on the performance of the Zambia Revenue Authority in 2020 and the prospects for 2021.
“This performance is highly commendable for which I would like to applaud my management team and staff for this extraordinary effort under difficult circumstances. May I also mention that this performance relates to taxes collected by the Zambia Revenue Authority and does not include revenue collected by other government departments in form of non-tax revenue. I further would like to indicate that the Ministry of Finance will at an appropriate time and in line with its mandate give a brief on the revenue collected outside ZRA and expenditure outturn that is outside our mandate,” he said.
“In terms of tax refunds, the authority, during the year, paid a total of K12.9 billion in tax refunds compared to K10.5 billion paid out in 2019, representing a 12.3 percent growth. Of this amount, K12.64 billion was paid in VAT refunds of which K8.5 billion (67%) was paid to the mining sector. Direct taxes refunds stood at K72.3 million while K163.5 million was refunded under customs.”
Mr. Chanda added that the increase in the amount refunded in 2020 is in line with the Authority’s desire to dismantle all outstanding refunds.
He noted that dismantling outstanding VAT refunds and minimizing the accumulation of refunds remains one of the key operational priorities for the authority and the government as demonstrated by the payment of K700 million worth of VAT refunds from the K8.0 billion covid-19 bond which the government issued during the year.
“It is my hope and trust that as part of government’s broader agenda to reduce domestic arrears and inject liquidity into our economy, more resources will be made available to ZRA in 2021 to pay outstanding VAT refund claims which now stand at K16.6 billion (as at the close of 2020),” he indicated.
“Economic outlook and revenue targets for 2021 the government through the Ministry of Finance has set the tax revenue target for ZRA in 2021 at K59.3 billion. While this target may not be significantly different from the 2020 target, the 2021 target will be harder to achieve given the contraction of the economy in 2020 and the modest projected real GDP growth for 2021.”
Mr. Chanda was optimistic that the actualisation of initiatives set out in the economic recovery programme will support a macroeconomic environment favourable to revenue collection.