Malawi: Kenani's Covid-19 Initiative Appeals for Tax Waiver On Items to Be Bought

19 January 2021

Social media influencer and writer Stanely Onjezani Kenani, who is leading a fundraising initiative for urgent Covid-19 relief in Malawi has applied for a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) tax waive through the Minister of Finance, Felix Mlusu on equipment to be bought using the public donations.

The initiative plan to use the donated funds to buy medical supplies and equipment for frontline medical workers and patients, including oxygen cylinders, oxygen pressure regulators, medicines, non-rebreather masks with reservoirs, enoxaparin, nasal prongs and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Kenani has written the appeal to Mlusu saying "with fellow Malawians and well-wishers of other nationalities on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, we have embarked on a fundraising campaign to contribute to the Covid-19 pandemic fight".

The fundraising initiative enters its fourth day on Tuesday approaching K22 million .

The campaign is also expected to buy drip stands, patient monitors, pulse oximeters, 3-sided bed screens to erect around beds when health care workers examine and do procedures.

According to Kenani, the supplies will eb donated to Queen Elizabeth, Kamuzu, Zomba and Mzuzu central hospitals

"However, we have noted that there is tax on some of the items [and] I hereby write to you to seek a waiver of the tax so that we maximize the number of items we can buy to save lives," Kenani wrote Finance minister.

Kenani then disclosed that to enhance transparency and accountability, he has applied at the Registrar General for a business licence, in the name of 'Covid Response Private Citizens'.

"With the business licence, we can open a bank account that does not belong to any individual. Airtel can also open an Airtel Money account for us with a limit of K100 million, as opposed to using individuals' accounts, which have a periodical limit of K1 million," he said.

According to Kenani, the fundraising initiative, which started on Sunday was triggered by a social media call by late Paul Msoma who was admitted at Kamuzu Central Hospital for Covid-19 and raised an alarm about shortage of flow meters at the facility.

Msoma succumbed to the virus on Monday.

The target by Kenani, who initiated the campaign with his personal K100 000 donation, is to raise 55 000 euro (about K50 million).

Kenani posted on his Facebook page that " the needs remain immense and we are calling for everyone's support. We assure you that we will act with great speed, transparency and accountability."

The donations are coming through the GoFundMe page and through mobile money platforms.

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