Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa, the minister of Information and Media and the Chief Government Spokesperson has disclosed the key decisions made during the 19th Cabinet Meeting held on November 13th, 2023.
Chaired by President Hakainde Hichilema, Hon. Mweetwa noted that the meeting primarily focused on legislative matters and strategic policy decisions to pave the way for the implementation of the 2024 National Budget.
Hon. Mweetwa said that the Cabinet approved several critical bills aimed at facilitating the execution of the 2024 National Budget. Among these is the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, designed to amend the Value Added Tax Act to implement an electronic invoicing system for cross-border electronic services.
Another significant bill is the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which seeks to increase the Pay-As-You-Earn tax-free threshold for individuals and make adjustments to income bands to enhance tax compliance.
Additionally, Hon. Mweetwa stated that the Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2023, focuses on stimulating economic activities by revising customs and excise duty rates on certain goods, with the aim of boosting local production.
The Zambia Revenue Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, he said aims to enhance tax recovery by amending the Zambia Revenue Authority Act to provide measures against tax evasion and revenue leakages.
The Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2023, addresses the restriction on the use of the Equalisation Fund for capital expenditure, while the Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2023, targets the establishment of specialized divisions of subordinate courts.
Hon. Mweetwa disclosed that the Cabinet also gave its approval in principle for the introduction of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Bill, 2023, aimed at repealing the Fisheries Act of 2011.
This bill he siad addresses emerging issues in the fisheries and aquaculture subsector, including disease management and the regulation of the growing aquaculture industry.
The Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2023, the minister said was also approved in principle, with a focus on amending the definition of medical supplies for clarity and efficiency in procurement functions.
Hon. Mweetwa noted that the Cabinet approved the application for diplomatic status for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, aimed at enhancing the institution’s capacity to fulfill its official mandate in Zambia.
Additionally, he said the ratification of the African Telecommunications Union Convention was endorsed to facilitate Zambia’s participation in the rapid development of info-communications in Africa.
In the energy sector, the minister stated the Cabinet approved the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the Electricity Sub-sector, marking a crucial step in guiding the development of on-grid and off-grid technologies. The plan is expected to attract investments, diversify the energy mix, and enhance energy security.
Hon. Mweetwa noted that the Cabinet approved the publication of the Tolls (Konkola Toll Plaza) Regulations, 2023, allowing Turbo-Kachin Consortium Limited to operate and collect toll fees at the Konkola Toll Plaza, part of the Chingola-Kasumbalesa Public Private Partnership Toll Road Project.
Additionally, the minister said that a Statutory Instrument, The Investment, Trade and Business Development (Priority Sectors) (Declaration) Order, 2023, was endorsed to address historical economic challenges, attract investments, and promote sustainable development.
The minister said that the Cabinet approved the appointment of the Public Service Microfinance Company Board of Directors and the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) Board of Directors to provide strategic direction and accountability in compliance with relevant laws.
Hosting of the 11th African Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) Conference and the 13th Roundtable
Hon. Mweetwa said that Zambia secured Cabinet approval to host the 11th African Federation of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA) Conference and the 13th Roundtable, scheduled for May 21st-24th, 2024.
He said that the event aims to expose Zambian educational practitioners to best practices, foster collaboration, and create networking opportunities for business deals and investments.
This comprehensive legislative and policy agenda underscores the Zambian government’s commitment to economic development, good governance, and strategic partnerships.