The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has warned traders and the public against smuggling-in opaque beer which is said to be of poor quality or expired thereby posing health risks to consumers.
MRA’s commissioner general Tom Gray Malata said in the statement on Monday that the smuggling of opaque beer, sale and conveyance of any smuggled product is a criminal offense under the law.
Recently some markets in Dedza, Mchinji and Kasungu have been flooded with Zambia Chibuku Super and other beers called Ng’ambazi, Nkhwazi and Mafuta which Chibuku Products Limited decried was affecting their business.
“The Authority is, therefore, warning the business community and the public that it has intensified patrols and inspections in all business and trading centres of the country in order to seize any smuggled opaque beer. The exercise has already led to the seizure of significant amount of snuggled opaque beer which attracted heavy penalties,” Malata said.
He further reminded the traders and public that smuggling deprives government of tax revenues which are necessary for provision of social services and development projects for the people of Malawi.
“Furthermore, smuggling or sale of opaque beer distorts market prices and creates unfair competition on the market. This is because smuggled beer is sold at low prices and as a result the local beer industry will collapse leading to many people losing the price,” he said.
Chibuku Human Resource and Corporate Affairs Manager, Gloria Zimba indicated that the company is losing 50 percent of its market share in three districts.
“We have established that there is a full truck that carries over 2,000 cases. It comes every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Other trucks park on the Zambian side of the border and people cross with their bicycles to buy and, at least, two trucks go through the Mqoucha-Jenda Border,” Zimba told The Daily Times recently.