Government revenue went down by 8.1 percent to K308.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) show.

During a similar period last year, the government collected about K257.7 billion.

According to RBM’s recently published Financial and Economic Review, in the last quarter of 2019, government revenue stood at K335.6 billion.

The central bank attributes the drop in the revenue during the period under review to low foreign receipts from development partners, among other factors.

“Foreign receipts from development partners declined by 75.8 percent to K10.2 billion during the quarter under review,” reads part of the report.

Tax revenues also declined marginally by 2.9 percent in the first quarter of 2020 to K272.6 billion.

Domestic revenue saw a slight increase of 1.7 percent to K298.3 billion as non-tax revenues increased by 103.3 percent to K25.7 billion, mainly on account of dividend payments.

In an interview Sunday, taxation expert, Emmanuel Kaluluma, said the country should expect a continued underperformance of revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The poor performance in the first quarter may also be attributed to politics but we are not yet out of political woes and it has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic which has made most businesses to lay off staff,” Kaluluma said.

Economics professor at Chancellor College, Ben Kalua, said development partners continue focusing on managing effects of Covid-19 to their respective economies and flow of foreign aid may remain squeezed.

“The pandemic will continue affecting inflow from development partners so we should expect revenue to continue dwindling, especially in the second quarter and beyond,” Kalua said.

Total government expenditure increase by 17.3 percent from K279.3 billion to K519.7 billion.-Times mw

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