Officials of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and members of the private sector are expected to enhance dialogue and interaction on issues of tax collection following the launch of the national customs business forum in Blantyre today.

The forum has been formed with funding from GIZ from Germany and SADC.

Speaking during the launch, Malawi Revenue Authority Commissioner General John Bizwick that the idea to form the forum was initiated with an aim of increasing interaction between the two sides on how issues of trade could be better facilitated.

There have always been suspicions between the two sides when both are discharging their duties with the revenue collector sometimes blaming the business people of under declaring their goods to pay less duty.

The business captains have also been accusing the MRA representatives of using underhand tactics in their quest to collect more revenue.

However, Bizwick predicted that the formation of the forum would create a conducive environment to share successes, problems and challenges and the way forward.

And the President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mathews Chikankheni told Capital Fm that the move has the potential of improving the country’s economy.

“With this forum, the economic will be boosted because government revenue will be increased in the sense that will be encouraging voluntary declaration by the private sector and not the MRA going around looking for them. And business transactions will be done in a freer manner“

And Deputy Minister of Finance Ralph Jooma expressed government’s satisfaction with the introduction of the forum saying it will help Malawi in terms of improving international trade and tax issues.

“In the past the government used to mostly meet tax payers on the operational level and less on the strategic level. So the forum will help alot to arrive at policies that will be the input from both the public and private sectors and the end improve compliance of taxpaying by the private sector,” said Jooma.

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