May 21, 2018 Last Updated 8:03 AM, May 21, 2018
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The National Registration Bureau (NRB) and the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) have signed a memorandum of understanding on the national Identity Cards.

The agreement will enable MRA, in collaboration with NRB, to utilize transformative powers of the Ids in areas such as tax collection, health systems and banks.

In November 2017 the NRB completed the mass registration of more than 9 million Malawians.

Continuous registration is now underway and all eligible citizens are granted the opportunity to register and obtain a legal identification means, as long as they have attained the age of 16.

During the mass registration, NRB collected biographical information and unique biometric features of every Malawian citizen, which are now being summarized to have the information displayed on the card.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Commissioner General of MRA Tom Gray Malata indicated that the national IDs will enable MRA to have an effective platform for the prevention of multiple or fraudulent and fabricated registrations by tax payers.

He further said that MRA will be using the national identity cards as the main reliable source of information to verify the identities of all taxpayers.

Before concluding registration of taxpayers, MRA will first verify with the NRB to confirm if indeed the information provided is authentic.

The Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecelia Chazama also emphasizes the importance of national ids to the nation.

Chazama tells Capital FM that this method will curb fraud in the country as the MRA will now easily trace tax evaders.

She added, “It is important that each Malawian registers for the National IDS as they will also help to reduce time spent to access a public service.”

It is more important however, to ensure that proper systems are in place, to ensure that the ID cards play their rightful role, by leaving no loopholes that would lead to their abuse.

Tax rates in Malawi are lower than in most of the countries in southern Africa.

This is according to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

The Head of Corporate Affairs, Steve Kapoloma made these remarks in an interview with the Malawi News Agency, in reaction to widespread concerns from the public that the revenue collecting agency is overtaxing Malawians.

Kapoloma explained that a study conducted by the International Monetary Fund-IMF, comparing Malawi and countries within the region like Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya among others, finds that the taxes in Malawi are sometimes lower.

For instance, Malawians pay 30% of their monthly income for Pay as You Earn (PAYE), while people in South Africa pay 41%, Zimbabweans 50 and Mozambicans 32.

According to Kapoloma, only Tanzania equals Malawi at 30 percent.

He warned that MRA would deal with any type of tax evasion in the country to make sure that the body meets its goals.

The Malawi Revenue Authority says it is banking its hope on the public to expose tax evaders.

All cargo being exported and imported into Malawi will from this October be electronically tracked by tax authorities.

President Mutharika is expressing concern over the continued loss of revenue through tax evasion, which he claims is crippling the economy and development of Malawi.

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