LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- The African Union (AU) Delegate for Southern Africa, SADC) and COMESA, Dr. Ngono Augustine on Wednesday urged the Malawi Government to introduce tax penalties for institutions that fail to implement gender balance in appointments.
The call was made during the consultative conference in readiness of this year’s 37thOrdinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit slated for ?August 15-17?, in Johannesburg South Africa.
The conference which, Action Aid Malawi, in conjunction with NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN), organized in the capital Lilongwe, attracted participants from civil society organizations (CSOs), Government officials, donors, lawmakers, media, AU, and SADC delegates.
The main aim of the meeting was to solicit views from stakeholders on issues Malawi should take to the SADC Summit, and how they would speak with one voice.
One of the continuing issues that was tabled, was tax justice whereby delegates emphasized that revenue collection should directly trickle down to development that particularly impacted on women, youths and children.
This encouraged AU delegate Ngono to suggest that tax penalties should be levied on gender imbalances in organizations, Government agencies, and private institutions in the recruitment exercises. Ngono said this would
to be a wakeup call for the non-compliant ones.
Dr. Ngono informed the delegates that other countries in African, including Kenya were doing well in balancing gender issues public and private institutions.
“Introduction of tax on institutions that fail to balance up the number of women and me in the workplace is ideal, only that it varies from country to country on tax compliance. This will help to bridge the gap between men and women.
“This might sound awkward, but its working perfectly in other countries whereby tax incentives are introduced to source funds for empowering women economically,” said Dr. Ngono.
While concurring with Ngono’s suggestion on tax penalties, both Action Aid and NGOGCN downplayed its manifestation in Malawi, considering the tax compliancy and political environment.
“This is a brilliant idea, which if implemented, the gap between men and women would be lessened. The challenge lies in convincing the country’s leadership, politicians and even the public and their perception on gender issues,” NGOGCN Chairperson Emma Kalia, said.
“Malawi has good legal frameworks, but we fail to implement them as planned. Therefore, let’s examine the whole concept with lessons from other countries before it’s introduced into the country,” said Action Aid Malawi Executive Director, Grace Malera.
But in her reaction to the tax penalties, Chimwemwe Banda Chief Director in the Ministry of Gender, Elderly and Children Welfare Development, said the matter needed thorough consultations with various Government financial agencies.
Banda said that tax compliancy among citizens remain an ongoing discussion point that with the proposal of tax penalties would just put salt to the already sore wound.
This year’s SADC theme is titled, “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value chains.
The agenda emphasizes on the need for SADC’ members states to address critical issues to implement and achieve SADC’s industrial strategic and action plan.