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Escom, Nocma owe Mera K6.5 billion in levies

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and National Oil Company of Malawi (Nocma) owes Malawi Regulatory Energy Authority (Mera) levies amounting to K6.5 billion dating back to the last half of 2017, Malawi News can reveal.

The K 6.5 Billion is enough to fund the construction of a road from Parliament roundabout to Bingu National Stadium, without borrowing from commercial banks.

Non-remittance of the levies by the two parastatals means that some third party beneficiaries such as Road Fund Administration – which is responsible for roads development and maintenance, will be hugely affected since they depend on such funds to carry out some of the projects.

A financial statement Malawi News has seen that has been sent to Ministry of Finance shows Escom has not remitted levies worth K1.956 billion from September up to date whereas Nocma has not remitted MK 4.594 billion since December 2017.

Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament Chairperson, Rhino Chiphiko has described the development as uncalled for, demanding thorough investigations by his committee.

“This is sad development as the parastatals are taking tax payers for granted. If Escom and Nocma fail to remit levies to Mera, it means Mera cannot, in turn, remit to Government’s Accounts Number one and it also means government has less money to use for its activities. It also means there is lack of accountability by government,” Chiphiko said.

According to Chiphiko, his committee will demand answers from Treasury on the malpractice by the two institutions.

He said non-payment of these levies might affect other development projects, including those that the country’s President already laid foundation stones on.

Mera Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, confirmed that the two institutions have not remitted levies to his organisation for the past three months.

“There is no explanation that Nocma and Escom have given. As Mera, we are expecting the levies to come as they are not negotiable,” Magalasi said.

He explained that when these companies charge, they collect a levy from customers which is supposed to be remitted to Mera within 45 days.

Magalasi has since said Mera has written the parastatals to remind them about the obligation.

When Malawi News sought comments from Escom, its Acting Public Relations Manager, George Mituka, said he needed more time to find out the exact amount his organisation owes Mera.

Nocma Public Relations Officer Telephorus Chigwenembe said he needed to consult with the institution’s management before responding.

Malawi News understands that Mera was supposed to penalise the two institutions since the rules are clear that companies which are not adhering to the stipulations have to pay a penalty or have their licences revoked.

Ironically, mid last year, Mera revoked importation license for Mount Meru when the company failed to remit levies and only restored it when the company honored the payment

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