The initiative allows people in the country to import goods for free but on the condition that the cost of the goods, freight charges, insurance, and port charges should add up to USD3, 000 (about K2.5 million) or less.

Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) Commissioner-General John S. Biziwick whose organization will implement the initiative has since released a statement stating the qualifying criteria for the duty-free week.

According to Bizwick, only goods imported and entered for clearance during the week shall qualify for the privilege while those goods imported into the country before and after the week will not enjoy the privilege.

“An importer shall qualify for the privilege only once during the Duty-Free Week. No importer will be allowed to do multiple clearances of goods duty-free.

”Eligible importers must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Only individuals with TIN will be eligible to clear goods duty-free. All importers without TINs are encouraged to register for TIN before importation through the Msonkho Online on the MRA website

“Eligible importers shall be required to submit their National Identification Card for verification of their TIN by a Customs Officer and a copy of the same should be uploaded to the Customs declaration in Asycuda,” reads part of the statement.

According to Bizwick, eligible importers shall also be required to produce invoices showing the value of the goods imported and duly stamped by the exporting or transit country. The importers will also be required to show their travel documents such as a passport or border passes.

Another requirement is the submission of valid permits and licenses for all restricted goods with such requirements under the law. Such goods include cooking oil, maize flour, cane sugar, bottled water, cement, table eggs, and fresh milk.

Meanwhile, random interviews conducted by Malawi News Agency (Mana) in Blantyre have shown that business people in the district are excited and ready to take part in the duty-free week.

Goodwill Kasondo, one of the car dealers in Blantyre, has hailed the initiative saying it provides them an opportunity to import goods without paying tax saying the arrangement would promote small scale businesses that usually have little capital to import goods.

“This is a positive development towards enhancing small and medium scale businesses,” said Phiri.

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