A 1.1 billion Malawi Kwacha magnificent office for the country’s tax collection body, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has been officially opened in Blantyre at a function that also marked a cerebration of the Authority’s ten years existence.
President Bingu wa Mutharika inaugurated the seven storey Msonkho House building which means Tax, Saturday which has made life easy for both MRA and Tax payers.
In Blantyre, MRA offices were scattered and could be moved from one building to another purportedly under political influence, and Mutharika, whose government preaches high against corruption, has every reason to smile since Msonkho house has brought to a halt the political exploitation in addition to savings from rental payments which is a plus to his government’s zero deficit budget drive.
Amongst the MRA rented offices were Chayamba, in Blantyre’s commercial business district which has links to the country’s first Head of State, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (Malawi Congress Party), and KEZA Office Park, with direct links to Dr. Bakili Muluzi, the former Head of State (United Democratic Front).
“By having our own home we will not only be saving in rentals and other costs but there will also be improved efficiency as we will be operating in a consolidated office building and convenient to the Tax payers too,” observed MRA Commissioner General Loid Muhula, who also takes pride that MRA is the only Tax collection body in the world housed close to a Presidential palace.
According to the Commissioner General (CG), Seven million Malawi Kwacha was being spent in rentals alone.
Msonkho House which started in 2007was finalized last year is along the Independence drive, a kilometer before Sanjika State House gates.
The site was originally meant to house a Five Star Hotel which the CG admitted was not easy to convert the infant structures into the current magnificent office building.
But the State President plainly blamed the previous government of misusing funds meant for the hotel.
Said he: “Let me put the record straight. The five star hotel did not materialize just because under the UDF regime a loan of about 18 and 19 million United States dollars was shared amongst UDF officials.
“Actually, when visitors were coming to Sanjika, I felt ashamed when they could inquire what type of project was this one. Now I will be proud even asking the driver to slow down.”
Rejoicing under the theme “Celebrating ten years of success together”, MRA, as a one stop tax administrative agency, operating under the Finance & Development Planning ministry, clocked ten years last year as it was merged during the Bakili Muluzi government on February 15 2000.
Previously it had two independent entities; Customs & Excise and the Income Tax departments.
The CG announced that the cerebration theme has been derived from the success MRA has achieved in the past decade saying the success is for both the tax collection body and tax payers, boasting that what MRA collected in January 2012 is what it used to annually a decade ago.