Senior Chief Kameme of Chitipa has asked government to engage relevant authorities to resolve issues surrounding the removal of a Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) check-point by irate residents.
The call comes after Chitipa business community-led protests last month resulted in the removal of MRA officers at Ilomba Border Post over what they alleged is government’s lack of commitment to rehabilitate the Chitipa-Mbilima Road.
In an interview yesterday, Kameme said the condition has created room for vendors to smuggle counterfeit products hazardous to health and evade tax in the process.
He said: “I ask government and the business community to swallow their pride and resolve the impasse amicably.
“You see, apart from MRA losing out on revenue collection for government, vendors now smuggle goods and products that are not certified, into the country.”
But Chitipa District business community chairperson Davie Msongole said people will allow MRA to return to the post after government rehabilitates the road.
“During a meeting last month between the community and five Cabinet ministers, Minister of Transport and Public Works Ralph Jooma said government has set aside K55 million to upgrade the road,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, Jooma pleaded for patience as the contractor is on site upgrading the road and installing culverts to make it passable.
“There are two roads leading to Mbilima. Alternatively, we are rehabilitating the other road as a temporary measure while waiting for money to upgrade the main road to bitumen standard after the rainy season,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chitipa National Initiative for Civic Education Trust civic education officer Amos Ng’oma has said his office is ready to partner government and MRA to civic-educate the business community on the importance of paying custom and excise duty.