Traders quiz MRA over Police revenue collections

Members of the Northern Region Cross-border Traders Association took to task officials from the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) on a number of issues including why Police Officers manning roadblocks from Songwe border to Mzuzu demand payment on behalf of MRA yet they do not issue receipts.

MRA officials led by team leader Tariffs and Origin Section, Ephraim  Munthali , were in the north for a series of sensitization meetings on highlights of domestic tax measures and customs and exercise measures for the 2012 to 2013 financial year.

“We have very relations with the Police since we all work for the good cause. If they demand money of our behalf please demand a receipt and if they have do not pay,” Munthali said.

MRA Commissioner General: John Bizwick

The traders contend that Police usually tell them that they have paid little duty, VAT or Exercise after inspecting their goods and they demand that they top up.

“This practice is suffocating our businesses because at the end of the day we realize little profit,” said the Traders Chairperson,  Scriviner Dzonzi.

Northern Police Spokesperson Norrah Chimwala could not be reached for comment.

The irate Traders also described Songwe border as the worst in Malawi saying MRA officers manning this border post are “rude and pompous”.

“Songwe border is the worst and most corrupt. Officers deliberately delay clearing our goods as a bait for us to pay bribes. And when we ask them to speed up things they usually shout at us. Do they think they are our bosses?” reads a document authored by the traders and presented to MRA.

Dzonzi claimed for every 10 percent collected as revenue at Songwe two percent goes to the government while the rest is taken by the MRA officials.

The 2011 Transparency International “Daily Lives and Corruption: Public Opinion in Southern Africa” ranks the Malawi Police Service alongside Political Parties as the most corrupt sectors.

“People’s experience supported their perceptions, with Malawians reporting paying bribes to Police more than any other institution. The reason most given for paying bribes was to speed things up – an indicator of malfunctioning institutions and larger inefficiencies in delivering services to communities,” the report reads in part.

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