Dedza East Member of Parliament Juliana Lunguzi (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) has said the country’s Head of State should now be liable to pay tax to maximise revenue.
In her contribution to President Peter Mutharika’s State Opening Address of the 46th Session of Parliament delivered on November 6 2015, Lunguzi said “we are aware that we even have Presidents who come in as millionaires. Can we start taxing our Presidents? Our Presidents are coming in very young and we give them everything tax free.”
Lunguzi cited South Africa where Presidents are able to pay tax.
“Can we, through the DPP-led government, ask the President to start paying tax because he has told us that he has the money to do that?”
Lunguzi blamed the challenges on Ministry of Finance for allegedly making poor projections of macroeconomic statistics.
She said the miscalculations have resulted in under-collection of value added tax (VAT) and other taxes by public tax collector, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).
Lunguzi said as Malawi continue to depend on MRA to collect revenue, the authorities should also need to be mindful on the “redeployments” at the tax collecting organisation.
“At one point we had three Chief Executive Officers if not two on the pay roll at MRA, all driving huge Prados that we have. As a country, we talk about austerity. We cannot talk about austerity if we continue to be in this kind of mess,” said Lunguzi.
The President, themed his address, “Building Resilience for Sustainable Development.”
Lunguzi however said for Malawi to develop, “we should not focus on resilience but we should look at some of the issues that, we as Malawians, need to do from Chitipa, Mangochi, Nsanje and across the country.”
She offered “solutions” saying Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development needs to be “better focused.”
Lunguzi continued: “ MRA target should mirror what we can do as a country. The other issue is that, as a country, MRA needs our political support. “
She said the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education should persuade the public on the importance of paying VAT as MRA recently introduced electronic fiscal devices to collect VAT.
“The other solution, we know as a country, we have all these trade agreements through SADC and COMESA. What we want to advice, as a country, is that we need to be serious on the concessions that we give for the so called investors. Because, if we continue giving tax concessions to these investors through the SADC and COMESA, we tend to be losing out, as a country. As a result, MRA will hardly collect the amount of money that we need,” said Lunguzi.
She hailed government for mandating MRA to take over revenue collection from TEVETA but said there is “another booming industry” in Malawi, in house construction.
“If you go to Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, and Mzuzu we are constructing all these huge houses. If only we can mandate MRA to be collecting the city rates, maybe our city councils would not be struggling to make sure that they collect proper taxes,” said Lunguzi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :