The Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives [CDEDI] will on Wednesday,21st April, 2021 mobilize Malawians to hold nationwide demonstrations against punitive taxes, levies and interest rates must falls.
CDEDI will hold these demonstrations after the expiry of the 7 days ultimatum it gave Government to reduce fuel levies citing one, being cooking oil saying the misappropriation of the Covid-19 funds will also be part of the agenda.
The organization says Malawians are deprived the pride that goes with buying locally manufactured products simply because they are expensive due to high cost of production, saying this has come about as a result of high levies on fuel, water and electricity.
In a statement signed by its Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, CDEDI is demanding the review and subsequent removal of some of the taxes and levies on fuel, water and electricity in a bid to reduce cost of production thereby making the products affordable to the ordinary Malawians.
CDEDI says by doing so, Government will be protecting the marginalized from hazardous smuggled products that have flooded the local markets at the same time allow the local industry to flourish thereby creating more jobs and remit revenues to government through taxes.
The organization says well-meaning Malawians expected the Tonse Alliance Government under President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera to say a word on the recent closure of Kanengo Tobacco Processors Limited in Lilongwe, Bakhresa Group of Companies in Mzuzu and more recently, Manica Limited.
……’’As an advocacy institution on human rights, CDEDI has come to stand with the voiceless, and we are insisting on our demand that government scrap off such taxes such as Value Added Tax [VAT] on cooking oil, and take out all the unjustifiable levies on fuel, water and electricity and immediately embark on a review process of the tax laws,’’……reads the statement in part.
CDEDI says it is reaffirming its stand against punitive taxes, high levies and interest rates on loans and essential services and commodities that end up punishing the vulnerable and the marginalized Malawians who are in majority in the country. The organization says while CDEDI and indeed Malawians of goodwill were busy asking government to embark on an exercise to review the tax policies, the citizens woke up to the news that the Reserve Bank of Malawi [RBM] had approved a blanket increase of interest rates on loans in total disregard of its policy that Malawi Government Departments Agency should set a certain percentage to buy from Small and Medium Enterprises [SMEs].
By Vincent Gunde