A representative of Council of Churches in Namibia, Uhuru Dempers has called on Malawi Churches and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to prioritize informing people on set systems and structures that are critical in fight against poverty and inequality in the country.
He says this raises people’s knowledge of those systems and structurers and they will in return start living by them.
Dempers made the call during a 3-day capacity building engagement on tax literacy between stakeholders like faith and CSOs leaders on United Nations (UN) Tax Convention and it was being held by Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and DanChurch Aid (DCA) Malawi joint country programme.
His presentation described church as meeting point for people of all kinds hence the message in mention can easily be disseminated.
Dempers says, “Churches have well established social infrastructures like no other institution in society. They also have leagues which include women, youths, men and children; hence making it easy to share the information on how to improve the economy of the country”.
‘’Churches can encourage their congregants to pay the tax and highlight to them the importance of paying it as it plays a great role in the development”, he said.
He also took advantage of the gathering to urge clergy and CSO leaders to refrain from advancing their and/or someone’s political agendas when they are talking to people on issues that can advance society’s economy, among others.
“Churches and CSOs should integrate for a more inclusive, universal and transformative approach that values human dignity despite all other consideration”, he said.
‘’Congregants should also be encouraged to be self-reliant for them to fight poverty, because this will help them not to find it difficult when paying tax, leading to improved economy’’.
On the other hand, a Senior Researcher for Tax Justice Networks at St. Andrews University, Rachel Etter Phoya agreed with Dempers on vital roles that churches and CSOs play in civic educating the masses on the importance of paying tax and how the taxes collected are being used.
‘’CSOs among other stakeholders should also encourage the youths to be at the Centre to ensure a sustainable campaign for generations come’’, said Phoya.
She said, educating the masses on issues concerning tax can help to avoid tax abuse as statistics indicate that Malawi loses about 50 million dollars US dollars annually due to tax abuse and corruption.
Moses Mkandawire who is chairperson for National Alliance Against Corruption in Malawi has lobbied for transparency and accountability among government and non-governmental institutions dealing with issues concerning tax.
He notes that the duo can foster trust among citizens and this will encourage them not to be reluctant when paying tax since stakeholders are being accountable on how they are using funds.
The UN general assembly’s financial and economic committee adopted a resolution on the promotion of inclusive and effective International tax cooperation at the United Nations in 2022 and the adoption paved way for negotiations and producing an international tax cooperation.