Filed under: Statements |

ABC and sataFinance Minister Alexander Chikwanda says President Michael Sata is very safe despite maneuvers by some Patriotic Front (PF) leaders who positioning themselves take over the republican presidency.

Mr. Chikwanda said those positioning themselves to take over the presidency even when there is no vacancy in the presidency will only injure themselves in the process because they cannot injure President Sata.

Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday , Mr. Chikwanda however declined to name the said PF leaders saying it was not appropriate for him to use a media briefing to do so.

At the same briefing, Mr. Chikwanda declassified the letter he wrote to President Sata in which he sought approval for his Ministry to instruct the Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority to streamline Value Added Tax General Administration Rule number 18.

Mr. Chikwanda said the letter dated 15th July, 2014, was meant to seek President Sata’s approval to streamline Value Added Tax General Administration Rule number 18 so that it is limited to regulation and verification of exports and bank certification of receipt of exports, in view of the un-cleared backlog of VAT refunds by government.

Mr. Chikwanda said the letter that is marked secret to imply that the letter was a government classified document, and has since been declassified with the indulgence of President Sata in view of it being leaked to the Post newspaper.

“The letter was a classified document, therefore, the law enforcement agencies, whose duty it is to protect Government confidentiality and integrity may wish to establish how the letter got into the possession of unauthorized persons,” Mr Chikwanda said.

He added, “I wish to reiterate that VAT Rule 18 affects all exporters and not only those in the mining sector. As will be seen from the letter, which has now been declassified, mining companies are not being insulated from their tax obligations.”

Mr Chikwanda said it is Government’s duty to ensure legality and propriety adding that it is incumbent upon government to foster a conducive environment for investors by streamlining the enforcement of practices or regulations which have the potential of creating a disabling atmosphere.

He said Government appeals to all Zambians to respect facts and the truth and refuse to be unduly influenced by segments of the population who are compromised.

The Finance Minister admitted that he owns minority shares in Sigma, a company that deals with mining companies. Mr Chikwanda said Sigma is registered in the United Kingdom and supplies mining companies across the world including Chile.He said the firm which has been existence for over 28 years has never solicited for business in Zambia since the PF took over government in 2011.

Mr Chikwanda also clarified that he is not involved in any management structure of Sigma saying his influence in the running of the company is minimal.