Mining taxation knowledge crucial for media – Oxfam
By Gloria Mbwana
There is need for media practitioners to broaden their understanding of taxation issues involving the extractive sector in order to effectively play their role of promoting transparency and accountability in the industry.
This observation was made at a capacity building workshop for media practitioners on fiscal modeling for the extractives sector, which took place recently at Linde Motel in Mponela, Dowa.
As media practitioners, you cannot competently report on taxation issues in the extractive sector without going through the relevant clauses in the constitution, which guide individual legislation of the land. Oxfam organized this workshop to deepen your understanding on these issues,
said Workshop facilitator Fredrick Chanza, an expert in mining taxation.
The function, which was interactive, tackled, among other things, Malawi’s taxation legal framework as it relates to extractives, the nature of extractives sectors, as well as financial and fiscal modeling in analysing extractives contracts.
The participants were also drilled on how to read mining contracts and understand fiscal modeling for oil contracts in order to report effectively.
Chanza explained to the participants that in order to understand the issues of taxation in extractives sector, media practitioners have to get accustomed to relevant legislation.
He took participants through analyses of Sections in the Constitution of Malawi which deal with fiscal issues, particularly Sections 171 and 172, explaining that these two, backed by other specific Acts, set legal requirements for tax collection, management and allocation.
Chanza also drilled the journalists on the Public Finance Management Act which governs economic and financial management including adherence to policy objectives and the budget.
The Act, among other things, provides that only the Minister of Finance is in charge of taxes and any contract agreement between the government and a mining company must be in adherence with the law.
Freelance journalist, Watipaso Mzungu who was among the participants, thanked Oxfam for organising what he called a very important, helpful and eye-opening training workshop for the media but observed that one day’s time was not enough for the participants to absorb complex issues that were presented at the function.
The journalists recommended the need for Oxfam to organise another function that will include practical sessions and visits to mining areas.
For example in Malawi we need to visit Kayelekera where there was controversy on how much the government was collecting revenue in form of taxes and what benefits accrued for the nation and the community,
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 64 (August 2018).