MRA spells out commandments for Duty-Free Week implementation

Government’s tax collector – the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) – has spelt out terms and conditions that will guide and govern the implementation of the Duty-Free Week.

The Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu recently declared 23rd to the 29th of January, 2022, as Duty Free Week, a development that has brought excitement among cross-border traders in Malawi.

Duty-Free Week was one of the agenda items in the Tonse Alliance manifesto and campaign promises.

During this week, importers will be allowed to import goods, whose Value for Duty Purpose (VDP) does not exceed USD3, 000, free of any import duty, import excise and import Value Added Tax (VAT).

Malawi Finance minister Felix Mlusu

VDP includes the cost of the goods, freight charges, insurance and port charges. These should add up to USD3, 000 or less. Further, importers will still be required to pay K15, 000 processing fee and the charges of engaging a clearing agent.

However, MRA has stated that not everyone qualifies to benefit from this arrangement, as there is a qualifying criteria to be followed.

In a public notice made available to Nyasa Times on Thursday, the Authority says only goods imported and entered for clearance during the week shall qualify for the privilege while those goods imported into the country before and after the week will not enjoy the privilege.

“An importer shall qualify for the privilege only once during the DutyFree Week. No importer will be allowed to do multiple clearance of goods duty free. Eligible importers must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Only individuals with TIN will be eligible to clear goods duty free. All importers without TINs are encouraged to register for TIN before importation through the Msonkho Online on the MRA website TIN registration is free. A step by step process of how to register for tax and obtain a TIN can be downloaded on the website or contact MRA Call Centre on 672 for free to assist you register for tax and get your TIN,” reads the notice, which has been signed by MRA Commissioner General John Biziwick.

Bizwick further states that eligible importers shall be required to submit their National Identification Card for verification of their TIN by a Customs Officer and a copy of the same should be uploaded to the Customs declaration in Asycuda.

He adds that eligible importers shall be required to produce invoices showing the value of the goods imported and duly stamped by the exporting or transit country.


“Eligible importers are required to show their travel documents such as passport or border pass. Eligible importers shall be required to submit valid permits and licenses for all restricted goods with such requirements under the law. These goods include the following: cooking oil, maize flour, cane sugar, bottled water, cement, table eggs and fresh milk. Eligible importers shall not be required to obtain prior approval to enjoy the privilege.

“Incorporated businesses shall not be allowed to import goods duty free during the week; goods in temporary stores or bonded warehouses will NOT be allowed to enjoy duty free clearance; gualifying goods shall be declared on Customs Declaration  Form 12 using Customs Procedure Code 495 and the declaration shall be lodged by a Customs Clearing Agent at a fee,” says the notice.

Meanwhile, the Authority is informing the business community and the public that failure to satisfy any of the above criteria shall lead to disqualification from benefiting under the duty free week.

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