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Social Media Taxes Draconian, must be stopped immediately, prods  

Social Media Taxes Draconian, must be stopped immediately, prods  

August 14
19:27 2018

PRESS STATEMENT Tuesday 14th August 2018

UPND President Hakainde Hichilema with Vice President Dr. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba

By Percy Chanda United Party for National Development (UPND) Chairperson for Mines and Freedom Fighter

Taxes and more taxes for our already impoverished citizens as the morally and financially bankrupt PF leadership yesterday introduced social media taxes.

We have said it before and we will say it again, that we have a PF leadership that drove us into an economic ditch through reckless borrowing and uneconomic irresponsible spending.

Unfortunately they have no clue whatsoever on how to get us out of the economic mess they put us in.

All they know is to keep squeezing the already impoverished citizens through imposition of all sorts of taxes and levies.

And what is worse is taking advantage of what they consider as a highly polarized population which they view as very docile to react and openly defy such draconian measures.

And now they are not only on a mission to completely ground the economy, they are also on a mission to rout out and plunder the opposition in the country by systematically targeting some of the weak souls using corruptly acquired pieces of silver.

Just yesterday, the PF leadership approved the imposition of social media taxes as they mischiviously claimed that we are using these electronic platforms such as whatsapp, Facebook, Skype, viber, etc for free.

Our quick search indicates that the visionless Edgar Lungu led PF regime has become the second government in the world to introduce a social media tax after Yoweri Museveni’s NRM government in Uganda. A 30 ngwee per day social media tax will be incorporated in each talk time translating to K109.50 per mobile number per year. Almost $12 per year almost equivalent to $10 the Ugandans will be subjected to per year.

We wonder who told them that Zambians are using these avenues for free because all we know is that subscribers are already taxed for using social media platforms each time they buy data bundles.

But for them it doesn’t really matter how much they make us suffer and impoverished through more taxes as long as it benefits them and their families.

In fact, the more they collectively make us more impoverished, the easier it becomes to target us individually into submission so that we can all sing the same PF hymn book and worship them as semi-gods for being good leaders.

Experience elsewhere has shown that punitive taxes under a failing crumbling economy will never develop a country and its people. Actually taxes and levies don’t really develop the country, they instead burden and fatigue citizens and poison the business environment.

An economy develops from a good economic environment and sound policies that generates more wealth from locally generated resources.

The PF leadership has no idea how to transform our economy and generate wealth from locally generated resources to the benefit of all citizens.

Zambia has abundant surface and underground resources such as minerals, massive water bodies, and relatively good climactic conditions and fertile soil that can easily support any kind of business undertaking and create wealth than indiscriminate taxing of citizens.

Can you imagine how our upcoming farmers are suffering and making uneven profits just from growing tomatoes only?

And can you imagine how much we can generate through exports if we supported such investment, even a little bit, into value addition for our tomatoes, pineapples, fish farming, livestock industry, and other locally produced resources?

And for us, we consider these social media platforms as one effective tool for economic transformation as communication is important for rapid economic growth.

That is why most countries which we envy in terms of rapid economic development, including in Africa, social media platforms are so easy to access through the creation of free WiFi hot spots in all key cities and public places. As a matter of fact social media has revolutionized small scale business dealing in much of rural Africa.

And here is a leadership which, not long ago, campaigned on the premise of putting free WiFi hot spots in Lusaka, and yet hardly a month later, they are imposing taxes on the same platforms

In fact, our young generation must be trained and encouraged to be more innovate enough to create Zambian generated social media platforms applications from which they can make money and create jobs for the country than suffocating them through more and more taxes and levies.

The mobile phone providers must equally be encouraged to be more innovative and attractive to the users.

This new tax imposition is retrogressive and repressive to small and medium business entrepreneurship and the UPND condemns it in the strongest possible terms. We therefore call for its immediate withdraw and call for progressive citizens to reject it forthwith.

We further wish to warn the PF to immediately cease this financial terrorism on citizens who are already overburdened with excessive tariffs that only go to benefit the ruling elite while the people are forced into untold misery and deprivation.

Percy Chanda
United Party for National Development (UPND) Chairperson for Mines and Freedom Fighter

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