Thousands of people from Malawi have demanded the British government to scrap off colonial tax measures that allow companies owned by British white people not to pay tax in Malawi.
Since 1955, the UK has had a tax treaty with Malawi, the world’s poorest country, making it possible for UK companies operating in the country to pay little or no corporate tax to the government.
To get rid of the archaic treaty, ActionAid has started a petition calling on the Malawi government through the minister of finance Goodall Gondwe to revise the tax treaty arguing that the money lost through British companies’ tax avoidance can be used to improve public services in the country.
In the petition that will be presented to the UK government and is being signed by willing Malawians on ActionAid website, the country’s citizens are pressurizing authorities to look into the matter urgently.
“ActionAid Malawi is calling on Malawian Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, and in the UK we’re calling on the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to put a new treaty in place that ensures that Malawi can make UK multinationals operating there pay their fair share of tax,” reads part of the petition.
British firms invested £100 million in Malawi in 2010, making the UK the third largest investor in the Southern African country after South Africa and Switzerland.
Due to the size of their investment, the British firms, by using the treaty to avoid paying tax, deprive Malawi of money it would have used to improve its public services.