Debt-ridden Zambia delayed the implementation of a new sales tax opposed by business groups, including the mining sector, to January 2020 from its previous target of September 2019, Bloomberg News reported Aug. 2, citing Finance Minister Bwalya Ng'andu.
The recently appointed minister said the delay would help the government look into concerns over the new nonrefundable levy, which is set to replace the existing value-added tax.
The 9% across-the-board tax on sales of goods and services was originally slated for implementation in April.
The move has drawn opposition from mining firms operating in the country, such as First Quantum Minerals Ltd., Glencore PLC and Vedanta Resources Ltd., over rising operating costs.
Barrick Gold Corp. CEO Mark Bristow said in July that the company was looking forward to engaging with Ng'andu.
Zambia has been embroiled in a dispute with Vedanta over Konkola Copper Mines PLC, having claimed that the company violated the terms of its operating license, and made moves to seize the asset.
The high court in South Africa recently granted an urgent interdict brought by Vedanta to prevent the provisional liquidator from winding down Konkola Copper Mines, pending the determination of an arbitration hearing in South Africa.
Zambia's national debt more than doubled over the last five years, reaching US$10.2 billion by June, Bloomberg added.