Malawi tax chief calls on insurance industry to automate services

Insurance practitioners, agent and companies should automate their services so that more Malawians easily access insurance products electronically across the country, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Commissioner General, Tom Malata has said.

Malata: The world is changing and we need to move in the same direction

Malata made the call during his speech delivered as the Guest of Honour at the 2019 Insurance Charter Dinner in Blantyre on Saturday.

He said with insurance penetration rate is at 1.4 percent, the industry should intensify research on market needs to support product development and relevance of the automated services.

The dinner was held under the theme ‘Digital Insurance: Innovate and Evolve’.

“The world is changing and we need to move in the same direction. The old ways of doing things manually are gone. People have no option and thus insurance has to join the digital world. I urge insurers to share information electronically as the industry needs to move as one and not as competitors, share data,” Malata said.

He said MRA is moving with time in offering convenient services that comes with digitisation.

“The Malawi Revenue Authority introduced the E-Payment service three years ago. This allows taxpayers to make timely tax payments at any place of their choice without rushing to our nearest offices and queue up to pay. Access to the E-Payment service is available through MRA’s website and over 70 percent of the tax revenues collected are coming through e-payments,” Malata said.

He added that the Authority also has in place a Document Validation system which members of the general public can ably use for verification purposes.

“There are three options of doing it, either a Quick Response (QR) code which is visible on MRA documents and people scan it using a QR Code mobile app and thereafter it displays the URL for the document details. The validation code comprises a 14-digit number and to verify authenticity of the Authority’s document one just has to dial *915# using Airtel or TNM mobile phones and follow a series of instructions,” he said.

MRA also uses electronic fiscal device in the collection of value added tax and a live online system called Asycuda World when clearing goods at the borders.

Malata emphasised that instant verification of MRA documents using the document validation system is a lifesaver to both the business and public sector because as everyone is assured that transactions are being conducted using legitimate papers.

“This is a positive progress and no-one will now dupe people using fake documents. Within the year, Malawi Revenue Authority will be introducing the Msonkho Online. This is an electronic platform which will facilitate full automation of domestic and international trade taxes collection procedures. This means full transition from the loads of paperwork, which we are dealing with now, to a real time online and paperless platform,” he said.

Malata pointed out that Msonkho Online is important not only to MRA but Malawi as a nation since, among others, it will improve filing of taxes and even facilitate prompt audits electronically.

He said MRA is very positive that full implementation of Msonkho Online would result in steady improvements in overall tax administration.

“I have mentioned all these for all of you gathered here to see that our customers, and your customers too, are ready to embrace technologically driven services. As taxpayers you should utilise the electronic tax services that are there as you move to innovate and evolve in line with the theme, Digital Insurance: Innovate and Evolve,” he said.

Insurance Institute of Malawi president Maclonex Mwase said the institute is engaging stakeholders on best approaches.

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