MRA chokes Balaka Council with K0.8bn fines

...fines for K45 million back taxes

By Sibongire Kwalira

A K45 million tax bill owed by Balaka Town Council to the Malawi Revenue Authority, has accumulated to K800 million in 10 years, The Investigator Magazine has learned.

The cash strapped Balaka District Council has disclosed that it is failing to breathe as the K800 million debt it owed to MRA since 2013 is expected to be paid in full.

At a Council meeting on Friday,  Finance Committee Chairperson Steve Michael Sauka Jnr told stakeholders that the taxe arrears were from the services and products that the council purchased during the period.

Sauka said the council owes the tax collecting body K45 million but the figure had risen to K800 million because of the penalties MRA imposed as it failed to settle the taxes on time.  

He said the council has been engaging MRA to consider scrapping off the penalties  which he said was impossible to be met with the councils current financial position.

“A delegation from the council went to Blantyre to request MRA to consider removing the penalties and we were told to organize some paper work and we are hopeful that our consideration will be met,” he said.

In an interview later on why the tax bill has reached K45 million without being settled, Sauka admitted that previously the council was deliberately evading honouring the taxes to MRA; a thing he blamed on the council’s administration.

In a separate interview, the council’s Chief Accountant Joyce Chindenga said they have managed to pay MRA K5 million.

She disclosed that the council is paying K500, 000 to MRA monthly as one way of seeing off the debt.

However, she reiterated that it is their wish that MRA consider them settle the initial K45 million balance without the penalties.

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