Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) says while smuggling opaque beer into Malawi poses serious health risk; the malpractice is depriving government of tax revenues necessary for social services provision.
In a published statement yesterday, MRA Commissioner General Tom Malata said the authority has observed some unscrupulous traders are smuggling opaque beer into the country.
Malata said the public tax collector has since intensified patrols and inspections in all business and trading centres of the country in order to seize any smuggled opaque beer with anybody caught to be punished in accordance with the Customs and Exercise Act.
“Smuggling and sale of opaque beer distorts market prices and creates unfair competition on the market. This is because smuggled beer is sold at low prices and as a result, the local beer industry will collapse leading to many people losing their jobs,” he said.
Last week, one of the beer manufactures Chibuku Products Limited (CPL) said it was not spared from smuggling adding the illicit sale of foreign Chibuku products has the effect of confusing buyers into thinking they are buying products of the company.
CPL human resources and corporate affairs manager Gloria Zimba said in a statement that smuggling infringes CPLs exclusive right to the use of the registered Trade Marks ‘Chibuku Super’ and ‘Chibuku Shakeshake’.
“Those trading in these products do not pay taxes and do not pay for trading licenses. As a result, they are able to sell these products at far much lower prices than those of CPL, which are subject to licensing and tax,” she said. She said trading is anti-competitive, contravenes fair trading practices and has led to significant loss of business and brand reputational damage for CPL.