Drama rolls out at Parliament over Finance Minister’s Tax Bill

Drama ensued in Parliament Wednesday afternoon over a controversial Tax Administration Bill which has been tabled in the August House by Finance Minister, Felix Mlusu.

The bill, among other things, seeks advance payment of tax on imported goods, an idea the parliamentarians from the opposition and back benches think is impractical and crazy.

Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Opposition benches were not in agreement with this clause saying this will burden poor Malawians who are already struggling with the financial hardships currently rocking the country.

Ned Poya: Tax Bill is insensitive

Meanwhile, the Tax Administration Bill, a bill that seeks advance payment on imported goods has been passed as the government took advantage on the divided vote.

72 MPs who voted YES to advance payment tax while 41 voted NO.

A staggering 71 legislators were absent from parliamentary session while 7 MPs abstained from voting on the matter.

This means, therefore, that Malawians will now be paying advance tax before importing any goods from abroad.

United Democratic Front leader of the House, Ned Poya, who is also a legislator for Zomba Ntonya in an interview, said: “This bill is insensitive to the needs of many Malawians who are currently already finding it hard to cope due to the prevailing unfavourable economic landscape.

“Making people pay for something they haven’t bought yet does not only make sense but it also lack common sense because after making the advance tax payment a lot can happen to the situation and it is the people paying who will lose out.”

Poya said it was a sad development as fairness and the tenets of natural justice have been defeated that UDF does not subscribe to such punitive tax measures because his party has the poor people and the disadvantaged at heart.

“We tried our best to protect what is just and fair but politics is a game of numbers and we lacked in numbers. It is sad but we have to move on,” said Poya seemingly disappointed.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Parliamentarian for Mulanje Bale, Victor Musowa challenged the the government to reverse their decision.

Musowa said: “Malawians are already suffering from the falling economy and asking them to pay tax in advance on imports will not be fair. People order second hand cars from Japan, after ordering, they get on the ground searching for money to pay duty when the vehicle arrives.

“So, if you say they should pay that duty in advance, that will not be fair. I’m speaking on behalf of fellow Malawians who cant afford paying the duty and the momey for the vehicle at the same time, please consider that” said Musowa.

However, Mlusu said no to the request saying for the ordered cars to travel on the road, the tax need to be paid in advance so that the road should be rehabilitated.

“If we take that request on board, it will defeat the dream to widen the tax base,” said Mlusu.

The Opposition voted NO to the clause and the house has gone went into a frenzy following a division on the vote and immediately the government side went into a caucus to discuss the matter.

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Justice for all
Justice for all
2 years ago

Shame this is really insults to the poor people tonse have to reverse it this decision otherwise u loosing out

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