Malawi govt told not to stifle private sector: ‘Don’t bite the hand that feeds’

Malawi government has been advised that they should fast-track payments to businesses which area struggling amid the tough economic environment after the private sector companies have cried foul over government’s delays to pay them tax refunds which have now risen to K12 billion.

Vizenge Kumwenda – There is an issue of arrears that the government owes the private sector

In an extended coverage of their story, Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, The Nation, carried an editorial comment to sympathise with the cries of the private sector companies that the delays in getting payments from government are choking their operations which are crucial to economic development.

The paper said the delays are “counterproductive”.

In its lead story, the daily  quoted remarks by Nico Holdings plc managing director Vizenge Kumwenda  at a Public Private Dialogue (PPD) Forum in Mzuzu on Saturday, who observed that the tax refunds have grown from K10 billion in November 2020 to K12 billion.

“There is still a lot more unsatisfied expectation from the private sector. For example, there is an issue of arrears that the government owes the private sector.

“This is the matter that has been going on for a long time and the private sector is really appealing to the government to look into that with speed. There are arrears that the private sector has provided services and tax refunds. On tax refunds, from the last time we met, it’s moved to about K12 billion,” Kumwenda Is quoted saying.

Kumwenda said the private sector wants the government to do more to provide incentives for businesses to invest in priority areas such as energy.

Adding its voice, the paper’s editorial said: “The Businesses have cried out loudly. Please hear their cries and pay them what is due to them to keep them afloat.

“Do not stifle the private sector.”

Six Cabinet ministers  – Sosten Gwengwe (Trade), Ken Kandodo (Labour), Roy Kachale-Banda (Industry), Newton Kambala (Energy), Lobin Lowe (Agriculture) and Kezzie Msukwa (Lands and Housing) – were physically in attendance during the meeting.

Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu and 38 other people attended the meeting via virtual platforms.

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Erik P
Erik P
1 month ago

The government are in a downward spiral. Poor tax revenue is pushing them to chase taxes, which will further damage business. It’s the completely backward way to do it and rings of a socialist fantasy world.. developing business is the number 1 and really only way of increasing tax revenue. Business development first, taxes then come. Doing it the other way round just screws businesses and then revenue crashes.

I had high hopes for this government, but the economists are a waste of space (and tax).

Stephen
Stephen
1 month ago

It’s sad to see people going after Vizenge instead of focusing on the message. Let’s stick to the isssues. Government should not be accmulating balances like this especially for honest taxpayers. Government gets away with no paying suppliers, stealing our taxes, stealing aid money, etc etc. Enough is enough. They are a parasite. Always finding ways to extract more money from the people through petty taxes like ID card renewals, drivers license renewal. Koma the people would rather argue about vizenge instead of the real issues. sometimes I feel Malawians deserve to be poor. Too much stupidity.

Public Opinion Organisations
Public Opinion Organisations
1 month ago

When did MRA Last Refunded Amounts to Pvt Sector? Please inform the Public?

Pa Florida Paja
Pa Florida Paja
1 month ago

Opusa is the one who appointed Visenge on the Board of MRA, advisor to the Finance Manager when they new very well that he is the Managing Director of NICO. Visenge is just doing his job protecting where he gets his bread and butter.

Mzeedi
Mzeedi
1 month ago

Actually it’s the government that is hand that feeds the private sector, and private sector rarely you will find them happily paying taxes. Private sector spend alot of money trying to find ways of circumventing the taxman. Mr vizenge if tonse alliance were to stop its over borrowing do you think your NBS Bank could make such profits? Why don’t you write off those tax refunds after all you already make alot from government interest on treasury bills.

Wachiona Ndani
Wachiona Ndani
1 month ago
Reply to  Mzeedi

Mzedidi mukambazo, Odala.

Like shaw
Like shaw
1 month ago

Vizenge sits on the Board of MRA so technically he is conflicted on this issue. Because he claims tax refund for Nico and then influences MRA. Refund should be carried forward and set off against future tax liability. Money hungry people

DAVID MWESO
DAVID MWESO
1 month ago
Reply to  Like shaw

Kkkkkk no country refunds taxpayers that way.

O. Sapien
1 month ago
Reply to  Like shaw

Some of us do not understand these issues. Thanks for suggesting a way forward. Still to me i thought 12 billion kwacha is little money!

Anon
Anon
1 month ago
Reply to  Like shaw

Why should it be carried forward when it needs to be repaid? Just because you feel that makes sense to you? That way, refunds will never be paid and MRA is being bankrolled.on money they owe the private sector.

Please, think things through before making such statements.

Giringo
Giringo
1 month ago
Reply to  Like shaw

And he is not just a Board member but Board Chairman. He has a very big influence on MRA decisions. He is an interested party in this tax refunds matter. Therefore he can not make impartial contributions.

ngamu
ngamu
1 month ago
Reply to  Like shaw

Government should pay the refunds now! This 12billion is working capital for us. It will revamp us and then will pay more taxes once we are healthy again, not so?

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