Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) in conjunction with Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) have stressed the need for civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media to identify tangible domestic resource avenues for fostering development across Africa.
MEJN Executive Director Bertha Phiri said CSOs and the media are key players in socioeconomic development of the countries; hence, they need to be fully equipped with knowledge so as to provide positive criticism where governments are failing to mobilize domestic resources.
Phiri made the sentiments during a two-day training workshop for CSOs and the media on domestic resource mobilisation, capacity building and validating the report in Lilongwe.
“People are not in the know-how, particularly stakeholders on issues surrounding taxation and yet we end up tracking government resources in various means by how plundered government has been using social accountability mechanisms but we need to understand how domestic revenue is mobilised in Malawi,” she said.
Phiri further advised governments to invest in the tax system in order to curb issues of illicit financial flows in the country.
TJNA Policy Officer on Tax and the international Financial Architecture, Francis Kairu, said African countries should focus on building economies of their own and enhancing domestic resource mobilisation abilities for the countries to develop.
Kairu also emphasized the need to put much effort on domestic resources mobilisation, building the economy and paying tax within the country in order to develop the country.
“If we look at our national development agenda and sustainable development goals we will not achieve them if we do not mobilize enough resources domestically, if we do not focus on building our economy, if we do not industrialize and have enough companies as well as enough multi-nationals and paying tax within countries.
“Tax burden currently is heavier on the poor and lighter on the rich and lighter on the multi-nationals. For us to change those dynamics, we need to re-fashion our domestic resources mobilisation abilities as countries. This is true for Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria and other countries in Africa.”
According to Dr Donasius Pathera, a consultant who did the study on behalf of MEJN and TJNA on fair taxation, illicit financial flows and debt management, Malawi estimated that US$275 million in government tax revenue is lost in capital flows and US$177 million is foregone in form of incentives.
This, according to Dr Pathera, invites African countries to adopt domestic resource mobilisation because it helps countries to enhance their development.
“Malawi vision 2063 if we go down into the document we observe that we want to be self reliance by 2063 but how do we became self reliance if we don’t have resources so we need to get the resources within the country and the report indicates that Malawi a lot million US dollars we are losing every year to other countries but we can overcome by connecting all authorities that are responsible for curb illicit financial flows, in terms of debt management we need to find ways on how we can manage our debt how much do we borrow for investing in productive issues most of debt what we borrow is for consumption so when we have domestic resources we can able to control how much we can borrow internationally and locally,” he said.
Pathera added that the government should provide the business environment for the informal sector to formalize their businesses saying invest in taxpayer education and need for political will in fight against illicit financial flows and domestic resources mobilisation.
Chairperson for Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Gladys Ganda, said the workshop was an eye opener as they have been drilled to go through the revenue side of the government despite expenditures saying current debt is at K7 trillion.
Ganda said the committee does not know how much the government is losing in terms of various incentives and that, as a result, it is difficult to come up with a proper budget because as a country they rely more on borrowing that’s why the debt is increasing.
Meanwhile, economist expert Betchani Tchereni has appealed to all civil society organizations in the country to enhance fostering transparency and awareness on domestic resource mobilisation by conducting independent research and illustrating the link between compliance and public services provision saying mobilize taxpayers through coalition with other non state actors on sub-national, national and international levels to improve tax administration in the country.
“As CSOs we need to facilitate participation in tax bargaining and support demands for transparency and accountability as well as engaging with state actors to enhance responsiveness to taxpayer concerns using collaborative and confrontational approach,” said Tchereni.
TJNA is pan African research and advocacy organization established in 2017 and advocates for pro-poor tax policies and the strengthening of tax systems to promote domestic resources mobilisationFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :