Saasa is not qualified economist – says ZRA

Saasa is not qualified economist – says  ZRA

** As Chanda maintains that VAT is bad for Zambia

Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says he is disappointed by Professor Oliver Saasa’s “petty stance” in his argument on the impact of Value Added Tax (VAT) refund to the economy.

Earlier, Prof Saasa who is Premier Consult managing director said retaining VAT and ditching Sales Tax was “icing on the 2010 national budget” adding that it was irresponsible for Chanda to back sales tax without carefully understanding its implications.
“…the manner in which the ZRA commissioner general was pushing it (sales tax) was in my view irresponsible. I think that we need to reengage the thought process at ZRA to make sure that we do not jump into systems and processes that we have not invested sufficient energies and resources to understand the implications. There was no study, to my knowledge that was undertaken that justified why the Commissioner General of the ZRA maintained the position that he had, especially where information from experts in this field suggests very clearly that there are challenges that need to be understood. And I am very happy that Honourable Minister of Finance [Dr Bwalya Ng’andu indicated that we have to undertake studies to understand it before we can look at it as an option,” said Prof Saasa.
But Chanda in a press statement, Chanda said Prof Saasa is not an economist and does not understand taxation adding that the problem of VAT was genuine and real not only to Zambia but in other developing countries.
“First, Saasa is not an economist and does not understand taxation. The problem of VAT is real and genuine not just in Zambia but in all developing countries with limited value addition.

A comprehensive analysis was done not just by ZRA but even by ministry of Finance. For ZRA our job is to implement government tax policy and we shall do just that. This is a national issue that I don’t expect any human being who pretends to be educated to reduce to a personal attack on me. I am not just disappointed about the so-called Professor but am equally worried about such pettiness,” Chanda stated.

And Chanda added that he was still of the view that Zambia must reform VAT.

“This level of pertinence by hungry and angry people masquerading as Economists is worrying. You cannot reduce a national debate to an individual. I had and I still have valid reasons why Zambia and many if not all similar economies in the world must fundamentally reform VAT. I was a tax consultant for 10 years within and outside Zambia and I know what I am talking about,” stated Chanda.

Professor Oliver S. Saasa,
B.A, M.Sc., PhD.
Rhodes Scholar
Current Position:

Managing Consultant, Premier Consult Limited, Lusaka

Professor of International Economic Relations
former Director (for 12 years) of the Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Zambia (1988 – 2000)
Office Premises:


Bachelor of Arts, University of Zambia, 1975 – 1979

M.Sc. (International Studies) Southampton University, United Kingdom, 1979 – 1980 Dissertation Title:
The impact of foreign investment on less-developed countries: A select analysis in the context of the New International Economic Order Proposals, with special reference to Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania,

Ph.D. (International Economic Studies), Southampton University, United Kingdom, 1980 – 1983 Thesis Title: The
Control of Transnational Corporations in Developing Countries: A comparative analysis of national poli

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  • comment-avatar
    The Watchman 2 weeks ago

    Mr Chanda is double correct . Prof Saasa doesn’t mean well I’m his outbursts and all. Country men the VAT system as it obtains doesn’t add true value to the economy of Zambia. This VAT system is so porous for manipulation one hasn’t got to be a rocket ‘ economist’ to understand this . Mr Chanda is correct to the core . Given the status of Zambias economy, GST is the ultimate solution not VAT!!!! Listen to Mr Chanda not Proff Saasa. Need I say something here, one can have a whole catalogue of educational credentials but still miss a simple point. You can pour all manner of scorn on Mr Chanda, Mr Habazooka, my like and all but know this the VAT system in NOT benefiting the ministry of finance but someone else. The VAT system essentially removes core control from ministry of finance to someone else and the sad most thing in this whole debacle is that the Mimistry of finance is the loser. Please I challenge finance and economics brains to put on their thinking caps and prove me wrong on this one. Finally may I propose that Zambia is an emerging economy that requires very strict revenue collection measures. We should endeavor to reach the levels of China where when you arrive the bold greeting says ‘ Welcome to the civilized world, here you will see things you have never seen in your life ….’ How can we reach such levels with a porous VAT system??????

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      Watchman: Adding value to a product does NOT just mean adding a layer to it because some expenditure in the process of making a product available include intangibles such as transport and insurance. These are recognised economic activities and are paid for.If I transport a product from point of production to point of sale/consumption and incur transport and insurance costs, then I hv added value to the product as represented by those two costs. Don’t buy Kingsley Chanda’s flawed argument.

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        The Watchman 2 weeks ago

        The core issue ultimately is controll. Not control in the negative sense but positive. Who for example generates transportation figures etc?? What does it take to prove the genuineness of the costs incurred in so called value addition?? I don’t know whether given the number of entities conducting business in Zambia  that it’s possible to scrutinize every detail in a forensic manner do that manipulative entities are controlled. The real matter Max is VAT in its current form doesn’t fully benefit the economy of Zambia. For example of the VAT claims requiring refund , how much of that total in terms of percentages is TRUE incurred value addition???? The debate should be put the two tax systems and critic both fairly without biase and trust me you will prove that the GST system out ways the VAT system in terms of making positive impact to the Zambian economy. Lastly may I say that Mr Chanda is double correct on this one……  and he has my full backing. 

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          The Watchman: Chanda has clouded the issue by being personal against Oliver Saasa. In any case not all economists and accountants agree wth Chanda. The only thing I hv learned about Chanda is that he has fragile ego. I hv not seen any serious analysis by those who are in a position to clarify this matter.

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    Kamuchojo 2 weeks ago

    We have a very unfortunate comment on an honourable development economist from an igonorumus. Evidently most institutions in the country have been bastardized. What a shame!

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    Mpundu 2 weeks ago

    Okay, let’s not waste time on who is an economist and who is not. Some of the best best economic thinkers in history had no formal economics training. That said, the ZRA Chief should explain why he still holds on to a position that requires him to administer a tax he does not agree with. Principled people would resign the moment his favored GST was discarded. But, no! We forgot that this is about eating, not the s**t about what is good for Zambia. You guys just wanted to abandon BAT because of the huge refunds you owe mining companies. 

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    Much respect to Professor Sassa ba arrogant clueless ignorant Pf cadre time of reckoning is slowly catching up ,

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    CHANDA is not a PHD holder , please pack ur nonsense in your trousers how come u have the guts to demean a SEASONED Prof. GOOGLE HIM IF WANT

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    Well, Prof. Saasa’s first degree was in Library Studies with Development Studies. His MA and Phd are both in International (Economic) Studies. He taught in Development Studies and not economics at UNZA. Of course, he is no economist or specialist of taxation but may have some knowledge of international economic studies to enable him comment on issues of the Zambian tax regime.

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    Is Ollie Saasa hungry because he is not an employee of ZRA? Is Kingsley Chanda boadting indirectly about his big salary at ZRA? It’s really improper behaviour for public officer. Why doesn’t he take aim at the Big4 accounting firms as well since they all disagreed with the prudence of doing away wth VAT?

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    James bond 007 2 weeks ago

    Ba kingsley chanda a clearing agent Vs a Professor. Typical of a pf cadre.

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      Talk to professor unless he closes his door not to talk to u 2 weeks ago

      I have so much respect for professor and I urge Chanda to stop outbursts on people he may not know well. Life has taught me to talk to affected people directly, unless they chose to close their doors like PF

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    But what’s his BA degree major? is it psychology or what? did he fire economics or not?

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    The gloves are off now. Why does he describe him as hungry? Oliver Saasa doesn’t look hungry to me. And where does the idea that economists always agree come from? If there’s any discipline where disagreement is common it is economics.

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    Blago 2 weeks ago

    These PF cadres are too arrogant and ignorant.