The government is retracting and resuming the collection of income tax (IPR) in the midst of a coronavirus crisis. Since last April, the authorities, wishing to mitigate the harmful effects of the pandemic on civil servants, had decided to suspend the levy of 15% of the salary and the bonuses of civil servants and state agents.
The measure was taken in late March by the government. The suspension of the income tax levy was to last three months, starting from April’s pay. The IPR will therefore be reinstated this May. For the Directorate General of Taxes, this will be the end of a shortfall. According to one of the directors of this financial authority, this measure had already cost the state coffers, which are already recording huge deficits, over $ 11 million.
In his letter announcing the resumption of the levy, the Minister of Finance, José Sele Yalaghuli mentions the relations between the government and the International Monetary Fund. Kinshasa had promised the IMF to increase its revenues, in particular by widening the IPR base.
The international institution had also asked the country, before accepting it into a new program, to manage its spending better and to be more transparent. The DRC is currently sorely lacking in revenue, with border closings and reduced mining production. This explanation by Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga before the National Assembly is far from satisfying the unions. In January, they had threatened to strike, in particular on the side of the public service, which saw reducing by 15%, the amount of its premiums, main sources of income.
For one of these union officials, the government’s flip-flop is ” not only suicidal, but also discriminatory ” Instead of take 11 million from the meager salaries of civil servants, this official suggests to the government to reduce the lifestyle of the institutions. According to Congolese civil society, the presidency, governments and assemblies at the national and provincial levels cost the state more than a billion dollars each year
With our correspondent in Kinshasa,