LUSAKA, July 17 (Reuters) - Zambia's new finance minister said on Wednesday he would soon give a clear position on replacing the country's value-added tax with a non-refundable sales tax.
Since being appointed earlier this week, Bwalya Ng'andu has sought to mend fences with Zambia's mining industry. The proposed tax is a sore point between the government and mining companies in Africa's second-largest copper producer.
"We intend to give a clear position within the next few weeks as to which way we are going on this one," Ng'andu said during a briefing on the country's economy. He had hinted when he was sworn in on Monday he might put off implementing the tax.
A committee would also examine the impact of a new tax regime on miners, he said. The country's Chamber of Mines has said it will stymie investment, push some producers into the red and hit production.
The across-the-board 9% tax on sales of goods and services, originally due to be introduced in April, was intended to help rebalance Zambia's debt-laden economy.
Ng'andu, who took over after his predecessor was suddenly sacked on Sunday, on Wednesday reaffirmed a target to reduce the deficit to 6.5% of gross domestic product from the current 7.5%. He said he would target savings of $500 million per year over the medium term by suspending some projects and cancelling others.
The economic growth of 2% to 3% was expected in 2019 before increasing in 2020, he said.