Pressure on MRA to finance budget

Post was last updated: January 4, 2016

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has admitted that it is under pressure to meet revenue targets and fully fund the national budget as a result of continued absence of budgetary donor aid to the country.

The authority says, however, every person in this country has a responsibility to help the government generate adequate revenue domestically by, among other things, meeting tax payment obligations without fail and delay.

Speaking in an interview in Blantyre last Thursday, MRA commissioner general, Tom Malata, said in the absence of budgetary support from donors as has been the case in the past 51 years, Malawi has to survive on its own resources.

“There is a deep hole that Malawians need to fill. The pressure is currently high for MRA to mobilise resources that will fund the budget,” said Malata.

“Donor support has drastically dropped and I sincerely call on taxpayers to pay correct amounts of taxes all the time. We need to love our country,” said Malata.

He argued, however, that government can finance the national budget using domestic resources if every tax payer in the country paid their dues as expected.

Malata said Malawi has no choice but to steadily mobilise domestic resources through tax revenue to fill the financial gap left by the donors.

MRA is this financial year expected to collect K597 billion in taxes and duties but has in the first 6 months of the financial year failed to meet targets, collecting only K233.6 billion against a target of K247 billion, representing a five percent shortfall.

Commenting on the shortfall, Malata said MRA only manages what the tax payer has paid.

“Currently the tax payer is doing a good job in paying their taxes and we encourage them to continue doing so,” said Malata.

Before the withdrawal of budget support in 2013 following the cashgate scandal, donor aid accounted for 40 percent of Malawi’s budget.

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