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Experts tip government on revenue collection

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Lauryn Nyasulu

Some economic experts say they anticipate stability in revenue collection during the remaining quarter of the year as economic activities start picking up in the country.

Generally, there has been a slowdown in business and other economic activities in the country in the past months due to Covid-19 and volatility of the political environment.

This affected revenue collection by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) which has been missing its monthly targets for a greater part of the year.

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But recent figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) show that revenue collection slightly picked up in July to K107.8 billion from K106.7 billion collected in June.

This is attributed to a 2.3 percent drop in domestic revenue to K100.1 billion. Foreign receipts declined by 14.0 percent to K7.7 billion.

Tax revenues were the main source of growth in domestic revenues as they recorded a monthly increase of 15.5 percent to K93.9 billion while non-tax revenues declined by 62.7 percent to K6.1 billion.

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“The increase in tax revenue might be due to recovery in supply chain activities following easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in neighboring and trading partner countries,” reads the RBM Monthly Economic Review in part.

Reacting in an interview on Tuesday, Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president, Lauryn Nyasulu, said the increase in revenue was expected.

She said as economies are opening following months of lockdown coupled with a possible pick up in businesses, the trend would be sustained in the next few months.

However, Nyasulu said despite spread of the pandemic slowing down, a long term effect of the pandemic could not be ruled out.

“What is critical is the need to assess the year-on-year revenue performance and this would provide a good picture on how fast the economy is recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic,” she said.

In a separate interview, Dean of Commerce at the Polytechnic, Betchani Tcheleni, concurred with Nyasulu that the revenue collection performance was expected.

“Considering that we have just moved out of an emergency, it is imperative that we must ensure financial prudence at all levels, prioritising areas that have been budgeted for,” Tcheleni advised.

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of economies into a tight corner, hampering revenue.

Most sectors of the economy were also greatly affected by the pandemic.

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