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Mark Katsonga calls for tax reforms

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KATSONGA—Develop Neno road infrastructure

Neno South Member of Parliament Mark Katsonga Phiri has asked the government to implement reforms to better tax collection operations.

Katsonga was responding to the budget statement which Finance Minister Felix Mlusu presented to Parliament in May this year.

Among other areas, Katsonga said tax collection should be fully decentralised.

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“For the first time, the budget is close to netting all moneymakers into the tax basket. There is, however, a lot of work to be done to achieve this budget dream, Madam Speaker. Allow me to agree with the DPP [Democratic Progressive Party] finance spokesperson that this budget is not achievable but with a caveat. But we need to look at many variables,” he said.

Katsonga added that district councils should undergo intensive training in taxation systems, adding that the Executive arm of the government should offer structured training to small and medium enterprises.

“[We need to] review business and holiday forex allowance to stop the abuse. Holiday allowances facilitate smuggling,” he said

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On public finance management, Katsonga said inherited programmes such as Mtukula Pakhomo, National Economic Empowerment Fund, Affordable Input Programme, Malata Subsidy, among others, had to be reviewed.

Katsonga did not sit down in the august House before talking about challenges people face in his constituency, starting with poor road conditions.

“Madam Speaker, on agriculture, Bill Clinton research confirmed that Neno has very good soils for wheat and Irish potatoes but there was a need to first develop the road infrastructure; otherwise, the agriculture project would be frustrated.

“What is the opportunity cost for neglecting Neno road infrastructure development? Madam Speaker, Malawi has over the past 10 years spent K1.9 trillion importing 729,000 tonnes of wheat, K804 million importing 1,728 tonnes of wheat flour, K1.6 billion importing 3,500 tonnes of Irish potatoes. All these crops, Madam Speaker, could have been grown locally only if the Neno road infrastructure was done and we could have saved K2 trillion forex equivalent which we have unfortunately spent,” he said.

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