All roads in Malawi will on Wednesday lead to Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mulanje where Malawians will demonstrate in the streets demanding the Tonse Government to scrap off 16.5 percent Value Added Tax on cooking oil, electricity tariffs, and fuel, among others.
VAT, which has been added, has made other companies to start closing down which in the end has cost thousands of Malawians, who would have been part of celebrating one million jobs in the country, their jobs and put their hopes down on when eating three meals a day will be possible without cooking oil.
A governance organization, the Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives, [CDEDI] gave the Tonse Government 7 days to think for the poor so that the VAT be scrapped off on cooking oil and other essential products for life to be normal in Malawi, but as always is the case with the Tonse Government, it has kept quiet, meaning that all is good in Malawi.
According to CDEDI’s Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, everything for Wednesday demonstrations in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mulanje is set saying it is the wish of all Malawians to see that taxes, levies and interest rates on loans must fall.
…”Many Malawians have opted to eat relish without cooking oil while the Government is busy preaching that after harvesting crops, 3 meals a day would be possible, if VAT must go, Malawians can then join government to sing its song of 3 meals a day…,’’ Namiwa speaking during a press briefing in Lilongwe.
CDEDI said Malawians are deprived the pride that goes with buying locally manufactured products simply because they are expensive due to high cost of production, adding this has come about as a result of high levies on fuel, and electricity tariffs.
The organization is demanding the review and subsequent removal of some of the taxes and levies on fuel, and electricity in a bid to reduce costs of production thereby making the products affordable to the ordinary Malawians.
The fuel levies and taxes have forced three companies to close down, Kanengo Tobacco Processors Limited in Lilongwe, Bakhresa Group of Companies in Mzuzu and more recently, Manica Limited, and it is obvious that those that have been laid off from these companies will join in the demonstrations with tears.
Namiwa said issues of nepotism, corruption and favouritism will also form part of the Wednesday demonstrations in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mulanje, apart from the usual one million jobs, looting of public funds, unrealistic promises by the Tonse Government, businesses not moving and companies closing down.
Namiwa said the demonstrations in Lilongwe will start at the Lilongwe Community Centre ground via Mchesi, Kamuzu Central Hospital, Parliament Building to the Lilongwe Civic offices at the City Centre, in Blantyre will start from the upper Kamuzu Stadium to Civic offices via Kamuzu Highway through Ginnery corner roundabout while in Mulanje, from Nkhonya to Mulanje District Council offices via Chitakale.
By Vincent Gunde