The State run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) owes the public tax collector K4.5 billion but the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has been accused of inaction.
However, MRA Commissioner General Thom Malata backed the public tax collector, saying they don’t favour public institutions.
Members of Parliament (MPs) under rhe budgest assessment cluster of Industry, Trade amd Tourism; Media, information and Communication – meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday hit at tax collecting body of shielding MBC when the same MRA accompanied by heavily armed police officers seized records and vehicles of the privately-owned Times media group at Ginnery corner and sealed the offices on similar tax arrears issue
MRA head of corporate affairs Steve Kapoloma said Times was sealed for failure to settle a tax liability amounting to K675 969 316.75.
Times suspected the move to seal its office was politically motivated, saying: the news organisation has been remitting its taxes every month.
Nyasa Times understands Times Media is now among big tax provider to government from the private sector.
During the cluster meeting, MPs asked MRA why they not taking simiar action against MBC as they did to Times.
Sam Kalawe, committe chairperson said MBC arrear date back to 2006.
He asked MBC delegation led by Geoffrey Kazembe: “Why is it that MRA is not shutting you down?” Wjhat is so special with you?”
In his response, Kazembe, who is MBC’s director of news and current affairs, said their woes started at the time Parliament allocated it a nominal K1 in protest over their propaganda and disinformation in 2007.
He pleaded with the MPs to raise MBC budget and persuade MRA to “write off” their tax arrears.
“This will cripple us for years to come, Please lobby for us to MRA to relent a little bit on us. We are all in the same country called Malawu. We pray the government tells MRA t write off this debt,” said Kazembe.
In his comments, Malata said MRA has been in “negotiations” with the public institutuions to “agree on certain modalities.”
He said: “It’s not that we favour them.”
Malata said MRA leave public institutions to operate “but if institutions do not want to discuss with us , we act.”
He said MRA works independent from political pressure as it strives to meet a given target.
MRA is expected to collect K918 billion in 2017/18 financial year for the financing of the K1.3 trillion National Budget.
The sealing of Times Media Group was made after publications of articles on maize involving suspended Admarc chief executive officer Foster Mulumbe and fired Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda.
Following the publications, Admarc on December 29 2016 served Times Group with an injunction restraining the media group from publishing anything related to the maize transaction. The injunction was vacated.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :