British American Tobacco Managing Director Godfrey Machanzi says exempting value-added tax (VAT) on green leaf tobacco in the 2018 national budget is a welcome development.
Mr. Machanzi says the VAT component made Zambian tobacco uncompetitive compared to regional competitors such as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Tanzania where the crop is exempt from VAT.
And Mr. Machanzi says the tobacco sector has the potential to contribute positively to the economy.
He told ZNBC News in an interview that this new development will see Zambian tobacco competing favourably within the region and more farmers will come on board.
Mr. Machanzi says the tobacco sector is key to economic diversification of the economy away from mining as it has the capacity to contribute significantly to the country’s the economy.
He said the sector also supports governments implementation of the seventh national development plan-SNDP.
Meanwhile Mr. Machanzi has further called on government agencies to combat illicit tobacco from the market to support the local industry.