UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema says the pending job losses, operational reductions and closures of businesses which are causing untold misery to Zambians people should squarely be blamed on the PF regime’s lack of vision, incompetence and greed which is fueling corruption to levels never seen before in the country.

Mr. Hichilema says it is now abundantly clear for all to see that the PF regime’s poisonous New Year gift of a heavy tax burden is destroying jobs and businesses in the already distressed country.

“From the vantage point of knowledge, we, HH, UPND and other experts, have for a long time rendered free advice that multiple and excessive taxes injure both our people and the economy alike but this greedy and corrupt PF leadership is not listening. For a long time now, this is what some of us knew would happen sooner or later. It is called ‘vision or ichimonwa’ which PF lacks in a large measure”, Mr. Hichilema said.

He said as things stand under what he has termed as “this ‘ Clueless Hyena / Chimbwi No Plan (CNP)’ PF regime” many businesses including mines are being taxed to a point of shrinking their operations to a minimum (care and maintenance) or even possible closure.

“The resultant effect of this negative development include huge job losses in an economy which overall is not creating new jobs for the youth and other citizens who need income the most. For instance: (a) Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Chingola – The ill-conceived newly introduced 5% import duty on concentrates will result in the scale down of operations at the KCM plant in Chingola”, He added.

Mr. Hichilema said this negative development will result in loss of many jobs and other negative effects on business while at First Quantum Minerals in Solwezi, over 1,000 jobs will be lost with substantial pain occasioned to families and related businesses in Solwezi, North Western province and other parts of Zambia.

He said all this will arise because of the new PF driven high/destructive tax menu and non-refund of the US$400 million the PF regime owes to FQM.

“We should all remember that many other businesses (including local ones) are owed money directly or indirectly under this VAT refund mess, high fuel costs imposed by PF, PF’s high electricity costs, despite all this pain, Zambians have to endure under the uncaring and brutal hands of PF, we ask our citizens to remain strong and retain hope because the UPND have a solution to this PF inflicted mess”, He said.

He said the UPND will lower the tax burden for the people and businesses including removing the 5 percent import duty on concentrates, removing the withholding tax on rentals and other costly/unnecessary taxes, licences and levies, drop the multiple/compound effect sales tax and revert to VAT at reduced rates and lower both the cost of living and doing business by reducing, the cost of fuel, reducing the cost of electricity, among other cost reduction measures.

Mr. Hichilema said the benefits to the people of UPND measures include protecting/preserving the current few jobs and businesses, creating more jobs and business opportunities, economic expansion and development leading to more jobs, business consolidation and growth (in number and scale, local and others).

He added that this will also lead to improved public revenue generation ability which will improve their capacity to provide social support to the youth, the sick, the old, orphaned children and those with disabilities and from poor/ disadvantaged families.

“In the UPND, we believe that it is not possible to achieve any meaningful and sustainable job creation, business growth and economic development when a government (like the PF one has done) takes money/resources (through over taxation and corruption) away from the efficient hands of individual citizens and businesses and places it into the hands of a few (greedy and corrupt ) PF officials and politicians who are inherently incapable of exercising any kind of honest and prudence in resource utilisation or management”, he added.

Mr. Hichilema has since urged Zambians across the country to unite in supporting the UPND team and other citizens of goodwill for them to take the country out of the PF inflicted damage and pain.

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