THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has challenged licence holders of small-scale mines to find ways of making their mines productive and contribute to national economic growth through payment of taxes.
In an interview yesterday at the ongoing small-scale miners' workshop and taxpayers education clinic at Kitwe's Hotel Edinburgh, ZRA assistant director of domestic taxes division Deborah Bwembya said some small-scale miners were just holding licences and were not productive due to the capital intensive nature of their industry.
Bwembya said although ZRA had some members of small scale miners that were contributing to national development through payment of taxes, many people with small mining rights were not producing, making it difficult for the authority to get the required taxes.
"In mining, if you are not producing, you can't contribute much, and that's the challenge. There are also gaps in knowledge in terms of what they are expected to do, so we have taken a step to educate our taxpayers on their obligations. We hope once they become productive, they will be able to contribute effectively," Bwembya said.
She said it was important for small-scale miners to be aware of their tax obligations and specific services that ZRA offered to make compliance easy.
"Mining is a strategic industry in Zambia and we are paying a lot of attention to ensure that everyone who is in this industry contributes to our revenue collection," Bwembya said.
And Emerald and Semi-Precious Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) president Del Litana said there was need for the government to help re-explore the mines owned by small-scale mines to understand their real value so that they could contribute to national development.
"We have a lot of emerald mines in Lufwanyama area but it's sad that out of those mines, only those that are run by foreign investors have succeeded. There is a problem of raising capital to start a mine for emerald and it's very different from mining things like base metal and this is where we need to work together with government," Litana said.
Meanwhile, Small-Scale Miners Association of Zambia president Simon Njovu said there was need to strengthen partnership between locals and foreign investors in order to help small-scale miners to expand their operations and in turn pay appropriate taxes.