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Business climate gets more hostile

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The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has said some companies are shifting their investment positions to other countries following government’s delay to offset the debt it owes the private sector. The debt dates back to 2014.

MCCCI president, Newton Kambala, said government’s delay to pay off the loan has affected the operations of the companies, forcing some to relocate hoping for better returns as the investment climate in Malawi continues to be hostile.

“This is the reason why the Malawi Revenue Authority is failing to meet its targets. Many small companies have closed and the bigger ones are investing elsewhere which is resulting in loss of jobs.” He further said currently the government has paid less than K50 billion of the K170 billion arrears recorded in 2014.

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“Most of these payments have been through promissory notes or coupons which are difficult to get and if one is lucky you get it after so many months of waiting,” he said.

But government has pushed the blame back to the private sector attributing the delay to pay off the K155 billion it owes the private sector to tax arrears some companies had with Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA).

Ministry of Finance spokesperson, Nations Msowoya, said the companies had to first clear their tax liabilities with the national tax collector before government could start offsetting the loan.

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“For those arrears that had correct paperwork, it has not been very difficult to prepare the promissory notes. However there are some creditors who had tax liabilities with government and in addition their papers were not complete. Obviously these take time to prepare because tax liabilities have to be settled,” Msowoya told us in an earlier engagement.

But the Chamber of Commerce has since dismissed Msowoya’s remarks, arguing that government does not have jurisdiction over tax collection matters in the country.

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