Malawi Govt Told Not to Stifle Private Sector - 'Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds'

12 April 2021

Malawi government has been advised that they should fast-track payments to businesses which area struggling amid the tough economic environment after the private sector companies have cried foul over government's delays to pay them tax refunds which have now risen to K12 billion.

In an extended coverage of their story, Malawi's flagship daily newspaper, The Nation, carried an editorial comment to sympathise with the cries of the private sector companies that the delays in getting payments from government are choking their operations which are crucial to economic development.

The paper said the delays are "counterproductive".

In its lead story, the daily quoted remarks by Nico Holdings plc managing director Vizenge Kumwenda at a Public Private Dialogue (PPD) Forum in Mzuzu on Saturday, who observed that the tax refunds have grown from K10 billion in November 2020 to K12 billion.

"There is still a lot more unsatisfied expectation from the private sector. For example, there is an issue of arrears that the government owes the private sector.

"This is the matter that has been going on for a long time and the private sector is really appealing to the government to look into that with speed. There are arrears that the private sector has provided services and tax refunds. On tax refunds, from the last time we met, it's moved to about K12 billion," Kumwenda Is quoted saying.

Kumwenda said the private sector wants the government to do more to provide incentives for businesses to invest in priority areas such as energy.

Adding its voice, the paper's editorial said: "The Businesses have cried out loudly. Please hear their cries and pay them what is due to them to keep them afloat.

"Do not stifle the private sector."

Six Cabinet ministers - Sosten Gwengwe (Trade), Ken Kandodo (Labour), Roy Kachale-Banda (Industry), Newton Kambala (Energy), Lobin Lowe (Agriculture) and Kezzie Msukwa (Lands and Housing) - were physically in attendance during the meeting.

Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu and 38 other people attended the meeting via virtual platforms.

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