Importers of Used Cars Association has accused the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) for uplifting prices of imported vehicles contrary to initial buying prices which is making it hard for importers to pay revised duty.
In a letter to MRA, signed by the association’s chairperson Henry Nyirenda and secretary Francis Mpemba, the group expressed concern that MRAs uplifting of prices on imported vehicles is causing problems for importers as duty value increases contrally to initial costs.
The letter said despite most of its members presenting legitimate documents as proof of actual vehicle purchasing price including bank certified copies of deposit slips, MRA has still been uplifting prices for some vehicles a development that is affecting their business.
Reads the letter in part: “We Importers of Used Cars Association have learnt with great shock that all vehicles being cleared through our borders especially Songwe Border are attracting unnecessary queries by way of uplifting vehicle prices.
“Much as we appreciate MRA’s tax collecting mandate, we find the practice damaging to importers. Sadly the upliftment of prices is happening despite importers furnishing MRA with all necessary supporting documents”.
The association said deciding a vehicle’s price on behalf of sellers in Japan leaves one to speculate that the revenue collecting body has turned itself into a vehicle seller and that prices of vehicles are not constant as some are bought on promotional offers and discounts as offered by sellers.
MRA head of corporate affairs Steven Kapoloma in a written response said queries on imports arise when there are doubts by the authority.
He said though the majority of importers are honest, there are a few who want to gain an unfair advantage over others by falsifying invoices with the intention of paying less taxes.
Saida Kapoloma: “This type of importers if left unchecked will not only distort the market but has potential to push their honest colleagues out of business in the long-run.
“It is in this regard that the Authority procedurally verifies authenticity of declarations of all imports in line with customs regulations by calling for additional evidence in form of TT copies, bank deposit slips and CAP links where necessary.” .
Kapoloma said where there is no evidence of under declaration of value, the public is assured that the authority will continue to release consignments quickly and ensure that traders reap from the obvious gains of expedited border clearance.
To further expedite the clearance process, specifically at Songwe Border Station, Kapoloma said MRA has assigned additional staff to finalise and release declarations adding that currently, queries are being attended to quickly and goods are being released without delays.