Minister of Finance proposing to completely waive off duty on vehicles bought by ministers and MPs

By Duncan Mlanjira

Minister of Finance Joseph Mwanamveka is planning amend the Regulations under the Customs and Excise (Tariffs) Order so that motor vehicles bought duty free by cabinet ministers and Members of Parliament be disposed of without payment of duty upon expiry of the term of office.

Minister of Finance Mwanamveka

He has since written to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) last Thursday (May 21) advising it that this will be applied beginning with the 2019-24 cohort of Ministers and Members of Parliament.

The Regulations under the Customs and Excise (Tariffs) Order will be amended accordingly to facilitate that the CPC 419 and CPC 420 of the Customs and Excise (Tariffs) Order for Ministers and MPs respectively be amended.

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However an analyst, Misheck Msiska, commenting on social media believes the Minister is abusing his office, saying there are special conditions attached to Assets imported duty-free under a CPC.

“Let me start by saying that duty waiver under a CPC is a special dispensation to serve an important purpose,” Msiska said.

“The CPC concerned here allows Cabinet Ministers and MPs to buy cars at a lower price especially for use during their terms of office.”

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He adds that the important condition attached to a CPC is that one cannot sell an asset bought duty-free to another person who is not entitled to the privilege without paying duty. 

“The Minister of Finance here is abusing his office. The law is clear on this matter. Some of the vehicles concerned would attract more than 120% duty, and if you calculate that on a CIF K50 million vehicle you can see that there is looting going on. 

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“They simply want to sell the brand new vehicles bought duty free using money borrowed from Government, which will not be repaid.”

He added that the Minister doesn’t have power to change the law governing conditions of a Customs Procedure Code. 

“An asset under a CPC cannot be disposed duty free. I am not sure about where the Minister is drawing those powers,” Msiska said.