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MRA banking on crop harvest cash

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The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) is banking on increased economic activity that come with the crop harvesting season for meeting revenue targets for the 2015/2016 national budget.

MRA deputy director of corporate affairs, Steve Kapoloma said in an interview that improvements in some macro-economic indicators on the market lately could also result into increased tax payments by the business community.

“We expect a peak in revenue collection from this month as the country goes into the harvest period,” said Kapoloma, adding: “The pick in some micro-economic indicators such as dropping of inflation and kwacha appreciation should also translate into improved revenue.”

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The optimism from MRA comes against a backdrop of recent sustained missing of targets in revenue collection by the authority due to poor economic performance in the country.

Kapoloma said even though initial crop estimates project another drop in agricultural production for the country, the sector still has the capacity to boost revenue collection once harvesting starts.

“There are still various economic challenges but we are putting our efforts to make the most out of what is available. We are optimistic that we’ll meet the targets going forward and contribute significantly to the revenue basket,” he said.

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Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) president, Henry Kachaje, said reduced revenue collection by MRA is a direct result of dwindling buying power among consumers which have led to a slowdown in business activities within the private sector.

He said Malawi would only be in a position to stabilise its revenue collection once it effectively deals with the macro-economic fundamentals affecting business such as interest rates and inflation, which remains the highest in the region.

“We must first deal with the macro-economic fundamentals to boost the productivity in the economy,” he said.

He said another key area where MRA can do a lot more is in collection of revenue from the informal sector.

“Our tax base can increase tremendously if most of the informal businesses were formalised,” said Kachaje.

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