LUSAKA Dec 28 Zambia is withholding 2.4 billion
kwacha ($243 million) of the 5 billion kwacha owed to mining
companies in tax refunds because the correct documentation has
not been provided, the tax authority said on Wednesday.
Zambia's government began paying up to 800 million kwacha a
month in Value Added Tax refunds to mining companies in June,
aiming to put an end to a long running dispute in which firms
were owed about $700 million.
Some funds are being withheld because companies have not
provided documents showing the export destination, Zambia
Revenue Authority head Kingsley Chanda told reporters.
Glencore's Mopani Copper Mines, First Quantum
Minerals, Barrick Gold and Vedanta Resources
all have operations in Africa's No.2 copper producer.
Chanda said low copper prices and the depreciation of the
kwacha this year hit mining companies, leading to a 1 billion
kwacha drop in expected tax collection.
Zambia is also withholding 40 million kwacha every month
from South African-based exporters of petroleum products as they
do not qualify for tax exemption under a regional agreement.
Most of the petroleum products coming from South Africa were
initially imported from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, countries that
don't have a trade agreement with Zambia, Chanda said.
($1 = 9.87 Zambian kwacha)
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Joe Brock)