By JOHN SAKALA
Chingola residents today overshadowed the Ministry of Finance Sales tax sensitization meeting in Chingola.
The Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe was in Chingola at Samfred Hotel with Zambia Revenue Authority to highlight the benefits of sales tax.
Sensing that the meeting would be derailed by mining related questions, Ms Mwanakatwe was joined by the Minister of Mines Richard Musukwa.
And as anticipated residents responded in unison that Vendata must leave Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
The residents mainly the business community wondered how they would comply with sales tax when KCM has been owing them for more than seven months.
The first in nailing in the coffin was Chingola Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Freddie Musonda who told the Ministers that both contractors and suppliers were in deep arrears with statutory obligations all because of KCM’s failure to pay.
Mr Musonda said government has not been too good to the people of Chingola especially suppliers and contractors.
He said if no mitigation measures are put in place, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be highly indebted.
The Manager at Nchanga Delicatessen Agness Tonga said Vedanta Mineral Resources is not a good investor, emphasizing that there is nothing good to talk about Vedanta the investor of KCM.
J and Ju Company Director Jacob Kasungami called for closure of KCM saying any business that claim not to be viable must be closed.
Summing it, Derricky Chilundika said people selling chickens and vegetables have greatly been affected because more the employees in the mines have lost their jobs.
In response Ms Mwanakatwe said that it was clear that all residents wanted Vedanta to go because all business are struggling due to non-payment by KCM.
And Mr Musukwa said he would pre-empty the meeting President Edgar Lungu would have with the mine owners, the Chamber of Mines and Commerce plus union leaders tomorrow.
However, he assured the residents that the President is not coming to the Copperbelt for a talk show because Government has been patient enough with KCM.
“It is bad business to keep money for business that have offered the service or have supplied goods and services,” he said.
On sales tax, Ms Mwanakatwe said the advantage of sales tax is that it will increase revenue, it will lead to abolishment of tax refunds, it will be easy to administer without necessarily keeping bulk records.