Citizens in eastern district of Balaka have proposed an increase of taxes on the wealthy, including that Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika should start paying tax.
The call was made at Balaka’s Catholic Women Organisation on Friday during the State of the Union (SOTU) in conjunction with Citizen Alliance public debate dubbed Bwalo la Nzika.
Contributing to the debate, citizens argued that Presidents in other countries do pay taxes and saw it strange to have Malawi’s Head of State have a privilege of a tax free status.
The citizens argued that companies and organisations including individuals do evade tax because they see it senseless for them to be paying tax and yet Citizen Number 1 and those in the corridors of power as exempted from paying tax.
“The President must exercise bonafide citizenship by starting to pay tax,” said Joseph Banda a contributor to the debate.
Contributors added that members of Parliament must equally start paying taxes on their incomes and all imports they make.
“It is important to ensure that there is equality and justness amongst all bonafide Malawi Citizens in as fire as tax justice system is concern.”
The delegates noted with concerns regarding External Referrals on health grounds which seem to be in favour of people in position of power when the arrangement was designed to favour all manner of people.
Delegates recommended that systems must be streamlined to ensure that fairness and justness is available to all citizens of the country.
The citizens cited the case of singer late Geoffrey Zigoma which they said demonstrated how much decay is in referral systems.
Further to that, the delegates recommended to government to immediately bar ‘Medical Tourism.’ where only Senior Government officials and relatives to them, are given an opportunity to go outside and access foreign medical treatment.
The participants believe that the proposal can be fulfilled by constructing a high-technology Medical Facility.
The delegates made a consensus that the establishment of high technology health facility with a wide range of medical specialist would inadvertently end discrimination and favouritism of External Referrals.
Meanwhile, citizens have also asked Government to improve systems of medical procurement and delivery systems to guarantee that there is an end to trending stock-outs and absence of specialists to ensure that External Referrals are only available in extreme and justifiable circumstances
Delegates to Bwalo La Nzika also unanimously agreed that Malawi must have ‘National Agenda’ as a blue print for accelerated social and economic development.
The delegates resolved that where this country has one guiding document for development, politicking would be substituted for harmonious working relationships between various political parties, Civil Society Groups, implementing partners, donors and all other stakeholder in development.
Meanwhile, economic experts have backed calls from Balaka proposals asking the President,Vice President, Cabinet Ministers and Members of Parliament.
Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) Executive Director, Dalitso Kubalasa, said: “It is surprising that our Malawi Head of state is exempted from tax and yet presidents in many African countries including Ghana and South Africa do pay tax, American President even declares at the end of the every year that he has paid so much in tax.”
Phillip Kamangira and of Citizen Alliance commended the Balaka citizens for voicing out their concern over the way how governance issues are being handled in the country.
Kamangira said that the Alliance will continue engaging citizens till their voice is heard.
Sotu executive Director, Edward Chileka Banda , thanked Citizens for voicing out their concerns.
“Citizen participation is vital in any democrat society of a nation, so as SOTU and Citizens Alliance we are very grateful that citizens have spoken,” said Chileka Banda.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :