Oxfam Country Director Nellie Nyangwa says when the public financial and procurement systems are dysfunctional, high net worth individuals and corporates take advantage of the porous taxation system to deprive government tax, public resources are lost and it is the poor who pay the price.
Ms Nyangwa said paradise paper like the
Panama paper have exposed yet another iniquities of tax haven.
She said in a statement that Zambia like many other African countries has not been spared the injustice of tax dodging.
“A media sweep through on broader issues of transparency and accountability in Zambia shows that mismanagement and corruption are hardwired in the country’s procurement systems. Zambian citizens have heard with frustrations a litany of complaints about tax avoidance by high net worth individuals and corporates. This is in addition to the annual Auditor General revelation of a wasteful and inefficient public service,” she said.
Ms Nyangwa said the malpractices are compounded on lack of accountability on how the country’s meagre public resources are used.
“The case in point is the procurement of fire tenders, ambulances and the construction of the Ndola-Lusaka dual carriageway way,” she said.
Ms Nyangwa expressed regret that citizens are also frustrated by the fact that recurrent of scandals fizzle out with little repercussion from the perpetrators.
“Seldom has there been legal consequences for these corporations and politically exposed individuals within and outside government who are responsible for mismanagement of the country’s resources,” she said.
Ms Nyangwa said the inequalities and implications of such a rogue system are widespread and immense.
“These abuses are both are roots of sustainable inequality and an important obstacle to poverty reduction.
” For instance, a staggering 30% of rich African wealth, a total of US$ 500 bn is held offshore in tax haven. These rich Africans are using the global network of tax haven to hide about $14bn, a year in taxes. At the same time corporation have been estimated to prejudice Zambia $38 bn in lost tax revenues,” she said
“These figures when taken together lost illicitly, dwarf the annual aide flow to Africa. Such revenues losses compound the problem of mounting and unsustainable debt, tightened spending on health, education,” the Oxfam Country Director said.
She said: ” the implications this has on the poorest in the society, especially women and children who are left to pick up the pieces on their own are significant