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Malawi losing $50 million in undeclared exports

Mayeso Msokera

The Ministry of Trade has said Malawi is losing over $50 million [about K40 billion] of foreign exchange every year due to undeclared exports.

This is coming at a time the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) is calling for exporters to register for annual exporters certificates following expiry on June 30 2021.

A press release issued by the centre indicates that the new certificates will be valid for nine months in accordance with the government’s financial year.

Under the Export Incentives Act number 6 of 1988, all registered exporters in Malawi are entitled to a 22 percent tax allowance on net export profit excluding unmanufactured tobacco, tea, cane, sugar and coffee.

MITC Investment Promotion Manager and spokesperson Modie Chanza said, in the past financial year, only 26 exporters registered for the certificates.

In a separate interview, Ministry of Trade spokesperson Mayeso Msokera said unscrupulous exporters underdeclare export proceeds, thereby duping the country of a fortune.

He said the problem has largely been exacerbated by informal cross-border trading.

“In addition to the process of registering exporters, the government through the ministry has introduced Export Mandate Regulations for selected agricultural commodities such as soya, groundnuts, pigeon peas, beans, cowpeas, sunflower, rice and maize.

“This implies that nobody can export these commodities unless they go through a licenced commodity exchange structured market or platform for recording and endorsement of every transaction. The ministry is also currently working with Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Reserve Bank of Malawi to strengthen systems for tracking of export proceeds,” Msokera said.

Malawi is a predominantly importing nation and is striving to boost foreign exchange reserves to preserve its economy.

For several years, Malawi has been experiencing negative trade balance, with petroleum products, automobiles, fertiliser and medicines topping the imports list.

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