Tempers flared Wednesday as the Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) brushed off lamentations by cooking oil manufacturers that reintroduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking oil is chocking the industry.
This was said during an interface between the association, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the cooking oil manufacturers in Blantyre.
Speaking during the meeting, Cama Executive Director John Kapito said their data shows that cooking oil prices have risen between 38 percent to 52 percent from the time VAT was reintroduced which is not in tandem with 16.5 percent reintroduced VAT.
Kapito added that since prices started rising, people have been fed with wrong information aligning it to VAT which is not true.
“The reason cooking oil has gone up is the mismanagement and as crude oil prices have gone up. They should never again hide behind VAT,” Kapito said.
Capitol Oil Refining Industries Limited Executive Director Ameen Karim maintained that as much as there are other factors which have led to the rise, they are burdened by VAT which makes the country’s cooking oil more expensive than smuggled oil.
He said the industry players will continue lobbying the government to consider removing the tax because their businesses may shut down.
“We will not relent. We will keep our dialogue on and fight on because this is our country, the last government which removed VAT, it took them seven years so we hope soon or later the government will listen,” he said.
MRA Head of Corporate Affairs Steven Kapoloma maintained that the re-introduction of the VAT on cooking oil was not expected to result in price increases.
Government reintroduced the VAT on cooking oil in the 2020/21 national budget after it was scrapped off in 2017.
Justin Mkweu is a fast growing reporter who currently works with Times Group on the business desk.
He is however flexible as he also writes about current affairs and national issues.