The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has embarked on a campaign to raise awareness against smuggling by holding public rallies in border districts where cases are rampant.
The Authority kick-started the campaign in the southern region with public rallies in Phalombe and Mulanje districts on 14th and 15th December 2020, respectively.
The public rallies were held at Chiringa and Phalombe Boma in Phalombe District and at Muloza, Mimosa and Mulanje Boma in Mulanje District.
MRA has engaged dramatists who are using comics to sensitise border communities about the dangers of smuggling and how they can report cases of smuggling.
Smuggling involves the importation or conveyance of goods subject to Customs control by using unchartered routes with an intention not to pay the required Customs duties
Manager McHizzal Kawanga said cases of smuggling are rampant in border
districts and advised communities to report such cases to the authorities.
The rallies underway
“People should report cases of smuggling to their nearest MRA office or police. They should also use Tip-offs Anonymous by dialing the toll-free number 847. Successful tip-offs will be rewarded and a whistle-blower can get up to K500,000,” he said.
Kawanga added that cases of smuggling motorcycles are rampant in border districts despite the removal of Customs duty and Customs Excise on motorcycles with engine capacity of zero to 100cc.
“Government removed Customs duty and Customs Excise on motorcycles with engine capacity of up to 100cc and importers are required to pay only Import VAT at 16.5 percent. Importers should clear their motorcycles to avoid being charged penalties,” he said.
Apart from motorcycles, importers are also smuggling cooking oil, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and other food stuffs which pose a health risk as they are not properly certified.
“Smuggling deprives the Government of the much-needed revenue for social services and development projects. It also negatively affects local industries as it puts jobs and companies at risk,” Kawanga said.
The Authority will also conduct public rallies against smuggling at Liwonde, Ntaja, Nselema, Chiponde, Katuli, Idrussi in Machinga district. In Mangochi district, MRA will sensitize communities on the dangers of smuggling at M’baluku and Mangochi boma.
MRA will take the public rallies to the central and northern regions where it will hold rallies in Dedza, Lilongwe, Mchinji and Mzimba districts at the following locations; Lobi, Njonja, Mitundu, Nkanda, Kamwendo, Mchinji boma, Santhe, Kapiri, Jenda, Mbalachanda, Mqocha, Edingeni and Euthini.
BY WADZA OTOMANI