Malawi govt tells CSOs to engage in tax payment awareness

Government has told civil society organisations to engage in tax payment awareness in view of dwindling revenue making it hard for the government to fund the education sector adequately.

Botolo: government is also moving away from over reliance on donor aid

Director of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance Kenneth Matupa said this on Wednesday when Civil Society Education Coalition, activists for quality education met him and some top officials from Treasury in Lilongwe in a bid to increase education funding.

“We need to advance revenue policy in view of dwindling revenue resources. Compliance levels are very low in Malawi. Civil Society
organisations should join the government in advocating to propagate a culture of paying tax,” he said.

Secretary for Treasury Ben Botolo said frequent closures of public universities are to blame for the dwindling education standards.

“Undergraduates take five to six years before they complete because of the closures. This is frustrating to both the students and
parents,” said Botolo.

He said there should be laid down procedures on how best to handle disagreements in the public universities than letting them close for prolonged periods which he said compromises the quality of education.

On the low quality of education in primary schools, Botolo said the ever increasing population is putting pressure on education.

Malawi has an estimated population of 17 million and is said to be growing at a rate of more than six per cent per year.

“As long as we have many children, this will compromise the quality of education because there will always be competition for money. We should have three to four children per family. I think three children is ideal,” said Botolo.

Botolo said the government is also moving away from over reliance on donor aid for the education sector, saying the government should be able to buy teaching and learning materials from locally generated resources.

Vice chairperson of Civil Society Education Coalition Lucky Mbewe asked the government to set aside 20 per cent of the national budget to the education sector if the country has to get the desired development.

“We should not be having loans to improve education, instead let us have grants because if we get more loans for the education, we will end up having no money to allocate to the education sector,” said Mbewe.

The civil society education activists brought into the Capital Hill Treasury conference room placards which asked the government to use tax payers money prudently by investing much in education for a better Malawi.

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