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ZRA, cut ties with CCFFAAZ over clearing agents strike

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The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) says it no longer recognizes the Customs Clearing and Forwarding Agents Association of Zambia (CCFFAAZ) because of its manipulative way of dealing with matters.

ZRA Commissioner General Dr. Kingsley Chanda says there is no legal instrument that binds their engagements with associations hence the authority’s decision to opt out on dealing with CCFAAZ.

He says, the association opted to call for strikes and incited its members and members of the public to disrupt smooth border operations country-wide.

He adds that this was done at the time when the over 18 million Zambians are in dare need of Tax revenue to provide and improve social services such and health, education, infrastructure, water, and sanitation among others.

“If these border disruptions had proceeded, it was the ordinary citizenry that would have suffered.

“This was going to be a serious act of economic sabotage that would have serious negative effects on our economy as a country,” he adds.

Meanwhile, ZRA and the Executive Committee of all Clearing Associations from Nakonde have resolved to proceed with the implementation of the Customs Clearing Agents Management Module (CAMM) in a phased approach.

This was announced, during a meeting that lasted over four hours chaired by Chanda together with Commissioner Customs Services, Sydney Chibbabbuka which also resolved to lift all suspensions slapped on clearing companies that participated in the disruption of border operations at Nakonde.

However, Agents with outstanding transactions remain suspended until they account for the transactions.

The meeting was held in the spirit of give and take hence ZRA offering to extend the pilot phase of the module to end of December 2021.

ZRA Commissioner General Dr. Kingsley Chanda assured the clearing agents that all fears and speculations will be dealt with during the extended period and that the module is being implemented in good faith and not in bad faith as portrayed by some sections of the clearing sector.

He further assured the agents that the module will not take away any business from them and that the issue of multinationals controlling a higher percentage in the sector is being dealt with by the government.

Last year, ZRA presented a proposal to the government on how the local clearing companies could be supported and some of those recommendations have already been incorporated in the new Procurement Act.

The Customs Agents Management Module has been implemented in various countries across the globe and it is part of Zambia Revenue Authority modernization agenda.

It provides for the electronic appointment of customs clearing agents by importers. It also provides for clearing agents to accept or reject the appointment by the importers.

The module also prevents TPIN abuse when clearing goods. In most cases, goods have been seized on grounds that someone’s TPIN was used without authority in trying to avoid paying Advance Income Tax (AIT), or by fraudulently enjoy tax incentives meant for diplomats, public benefit organization (PBOs), returning residents, people living with disability, etc.

Last year ZRA recovered K480 Million that would have been lost through TPIN abuse of the Value Added Tax deferment scheme.

Meanwhile, ZRA has exceeded its target for the first four months of 2021 by collecting K5.8 billion above target representing 29.3% above target for January to April 2021. Most of these collections are from direct taxes and Customs due to reduced smuggling.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31