Malawi presidential hopefuls call for transparency to restore tax payers confidence

The United Democratic Front (UDF) torch bearer in the May 20 tripartite elections, Atupele Muluzi on Tuesday told the nation that by clearly and openly showing what the money realized through taxation has been used for, Government could regain confidence of the tax payers in the country who at the moment are said to doubt government’s financial management.

Speaking during a third and final round of the presidential debates held in Blantyre, Muluzi stated that Malawians would be willing to have their money taxed by the recommended rate as long as it gets clearly  invested in projects that would benefit the people themselves.

“Using the money to buy drugs in our hospitals, constructing good road networks, purchasing maize to aid  those that are hunger stricken with total transparency are some of the important  things taxation money could do in order to encourage every responsible Malawian continue paying tax to government,” said Muluzi.

Candidates during the presidential debate

Candidates during the presidential debate

On the same, Umodzi party (UP) presidential candidate Professor John Chisi said ensuring that every capable Malawian is employed remains the only way to ease Malawians from the soaring taxes as the rate would be lowered following a wider distribution among the many working Malawians.

“Our party will ensure that the country provides jobs to all so that the money government intends to collect trough tax is realized without burdening Malawians who are currently failing to meet the cost of living due to very high tax rates,” explained Chisi.

While George Mnesa of Tisintha Alliance promised tax exemption to all low earners as well as on basic household commodities as a way of easing Malawians who are currently failing to meet the basics in life due to high taxes on the low income earned.

“Anyone whose income is below K100 thousand per month will not pay tax during the Tisintha alliance leadership and also there will be no tax on basics such as soap, sugar, lighting matches and other products purchased by the rural masses,” he expressed.

Taking another direction was Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) leader, Mark Katsonga whose key electoral messages dwell on decentralization saying the only answer to good usage of tax money starts with forwarding  Value added Tax (VAT) and Pay as You Earn (PAYE) to local authorities and utilizing it within the district level to maximize benefits.

“Government money should not go to account number one and if PPM leads Malawi after May 20, we will close account number one and stop making money and other decisions from a central point as that retards development,” he articulated.

United Independence Party (UIP) leader Pastor Hellen Singh said Malawi would not have tax problems if she makes it to the highest office in the next 13 days her government will not interfere with the Malawi Revenue authority’s work by not letting the president choose the commissioner who in most cases favours the political leaders and their parties as they are the job offers.

“The president should not choose the commissioners as that creates a very difficult working environment for the tax collecting body which in the end tends to be lenient to those in power in return of the job offer favour,” uttered Singh.

Pastor Singh backed her point with the issue of cashgate currently in progress saying those companies that were involved in swindling government money were not taxed as most of them were owned by powerful people in society so no matter how much tax is realized, it would make great sense if MRA gets credible enough to handle the task.

The debate was the last of the series of three organized by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi chapter with assistance from different development partners aimed at creating a platform for the prospective leaders to sell their ideas and plans to all Malawians who are expected to vote only one of the 12 presidential candidates into power come May 20.

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