The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Indus try (MCCCI) has proposed the introduction of a surcharge on the exportation of raw commodities as one way of boosting value addition in the country.
The Chamber also wants Malawi to start demanding VAT on imported finished products to balance the situation.
It also proposes the scrapping of excise tax on raw materials that are not locally available but are important for domestic manufactures.
The proposals are contained in MCCCI’s suggestions paper presented to Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, as part of pre-budget consultations currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
MCCCI says in the paper that putting a surcharge on raw material exports could make it expensive to export raw materials than finished products.
“The reasoning behind this is to encourage value addition and discourage exports of raw products,” reads the paper, in part.
“Most importantly, the budget should come up with ways to increase production of these agricultural produce and move from rain-fed agriculture to large scale irrigation,” reads the paper presented by MCCCI chief executive officer, Chancellor Kaferapanjira.
MCCCI has also asked the government to remove or zero rate VAT from imported inputs whose similar finished products are import VAT free.
MCCCI also wants to see MRA honouring VAT refunds within the stipulated time of 30 days or pay back with bank interest or alternatively, adjust the import and domestic taxes payable to MRA until the refunds are honoured.
On the proposal for the scrapping of excise tax on raw materials that are not locally available, MCCCI gives an example of aluminum foil lids and shrink sleeve labels for yoghurt to encourage processing of milk into value added products.
“Otherwise this increases production costs and encourages imports of packed whole milk products,” reads the statement.
It says high excise taxes on essential raw materials also increases smuggling for products such as textiles which have resulted into retrenchment of staff at Mapeto DWS, cooking oil, cigarettes companies and others.
MCCCI also wants the government to facilitate the provision of long term loans for farm mechanisation equipment and support the review of Control of Goods Act to reduce cases of export restrictions and bans.