Campaign for removal of customs duty on imported newsprint in Zambia

Zambia Consumer Association campaigns to assert and defend the rights of consumers in zambia thus increase consumer influance on the market. The association generates opinion and coordinates campaigns to ensure that consumer rights find express in consumer policy.  

ZACA will campaign to remove 5% customs duty on imported newsprint in order to lower the price of newspapers in Zambia because the media plays an important role as a source of information, education and entertainment. The media is thus a vital tool in providing access to knowledge. Yet in Zambia, the media is dogged with a myriad of problems, inhibiting its growth.

Problems of poor infrastructure and a population with low disposable income persist. The print media has another challenge; The cost of printing. Media industry analysts estimate that newsprint accounts for up to 55-65% of the total cost of producing newspaper- this strikes at the core of the industry as costs spark the cover price of newspapers.

For Zambia that imports  newsprint, the newspaper publishing houses shoulder an additional cost of 5% customs duty (ZRA Import Tariff Guides, Chapter 48: 4801.00.00) putting tremendous pressure on their balance sheets. The way to recover these costs is from consumers through hiked advertising and cover charges. This constrains the growth of the print media, limiting competition, consumer choice and ultimately compromising consumer welfare. The foregoing impacts negatively on access to knowledge.

The campaign will enable the policy makers (Ministers and Parliamentarians) who are the primary target of this campaign to appreciate matters related to access to knowledge and how certain policies, regulations or laws may impact on access to knowledge. More especially, the target group is expected to appreciate the impact of high cost of newsprint (raw material) on the cost of producing newspapers and how such occurrences affect consumers’ buying power and limit their access to vital source of information and knowledge.

The overall objective of the campaign is to improve access to knowledge by lowering the price of newspapers in Zambia so that they can be affordable to the majority.

The specific objective of the campaign is to zero rate customs duty on newsprint imported into Zambia by removal of the 5% customs duty. 

The activities ot  the project includes, organising consensus meeting with other stakeholders, preparation of technical papers on A2K and growth, challenges and choices for print media in Zambia, lobbying decission makers and making submissions before parliamentary commiitee on Information and Broad casting Sevices.