Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) have partnered to curb smuggling of gold and other minerals by equipping customs officials to detect minerals that pass through the country’s borders.
In an interview on Friday in Blantyre after officials from the Ministry of Mines conducted training on mining for customs officers, MRA head of corporate affairs Steve Kapoloma admitted that gold and other minerals are smuggled out of the country; hence, the training to help tax collectors to put a stop to the malpractice
He said: “MRA has been given the responsibility of making sure that we are able to detect minerals passing through our borders and that we only allow those with proper documentation to pass through.
“We believe that this training, which focuses on detection to allow MRA officials to know what exactly gets out of this country in the form of minerals, will help us detect gold and other minerals and act accordingly.”
Kapoloma said already MRA has a flexible anti-smuggling team whose purpose is to curb the malpractice.
He said MRA ensures that all players in the mining sector pay their taxes and continue to do so.
“What we are now going to be doing is to collect royalties as well; hence, this training, which has also equipped us to understand better the minerals sector,” said Kapoloma.
On his part, Ministry of Mines gemmologist Rodrick Phiri, who is currently seconded to RBM, said it is important that all government departments involved in the protection of the country’s minerals are conversant with the industry.
He said: “When we say minerals have been smuggled, they go through some exit whether designated or not. In this case, many people go through borders.
“RBM and the Ministry of Mines are not represented on the borders but our colleagues from MRA are.”
Phiri said they engaged MRA to sensitise them to issues to do with gold, especially how they can identify gold exported through uncharted routes.
RBM earlier indicated that they are jointly working with relevant government ministries, departments and agencies to establish a well-structured market platform for the minerals and metals, beginning with gold.
RBM said is within the developmental mandate of the central bank under section 28 of the RBM Act.