The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has encouraged importers to make use of duty waivers on Covid-19 equipment which government placed last year in its fight against the pandemic.
The equipment include face masks, hand sanitisers, cylinders, soap, water treatment chemicals, and any other equipment meant to contain coronavirus or help those who are sick.
Speaking in an interview, MRA Head of Corporate Affairs Steven Kapoloma said many importers are not aware that government placed the waivers a long time ago.
He added that some people have been applying for duty waivers to wrong offices such as the Ministry of Finance instead of sending the applications to the Commissioner General who approves the forms with speed.
“We want to encourage Malawians and importers to make sure that they send the application even before the goods arrive at the borders and, within a day, their applications will be approved to import the materials duty-free,” Kapoloma said.
He added that even though the waivers may reduce revenue for the tax collecting body, MRA and government are putting lives of taxpayers above the revenue that can be collected now.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito has said the development is welcome considering the rate at which the virus is spreading across the country.
Kapito added that consumers expect the importers to utilise the waivers and make the products available to all Malawians.
“The reason why government removed the duty waiver is because they want the prices to go down and it will be useless if importers bring the personal protective equipment and the prices are still high. People want a change in prices so that they reduce,” Kapito said.
The Customs and Procedure Codes are 4000.405(C) for direct imports and 4071.405(C) for bonded warehouses goods.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.