The ride to Canaan continues to be bumpy as President Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration wants to make Malawians pay import duty in advance.
Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu on Wednesday in Parliament tabled the Taxation Amendment Bill saying it will deal with tax evasion and widen the tax base and the collected money will be used to provide social services to Malawians.
Members of Parliament opposed the bill over sections that say importers should pay tax in advance before their goods arrive in the country.
Legislator for Chikwawa North argued that the provision is dangerous to the plight of people the government is serving considering that Malawi is a highly importing nation.
He added that importers usually start looking for tax money after their goods arrive in the country.
“We are not supporting this part. They should do that with companies and not individuals since it will be a burden to the same people we are serving,” he said.
Mulanje Bale legislator, Victor Musowa, who said he is a part time importer of used vehicle also opposed the amendment bill, saying businesspersons cannot afford to pay for the imported good and at the same time pay duty.
“The transit time allows businesspersons to start searching for money in order to pay duty,” said Musowa before asking Mlusu to shelve the bill until after the Covid-19 pandemic.
After opposition MPs rejected the bill, division voting was used where each member’s name was called and the member voted yes or no. The bill was passed after 71 voted yes and 41 said no while 7 abstained.