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Cama faults MPs on Value Added Tax changes

Consumer rights activist, John Kapito, has faulted Parliament for consenting to proposals made by Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, to introduce VAT (Value Added Tax) on basic commodities.

Kapito said Parliament had the mandate to turn down the proposals to protect consumers. He said consumers should brace for tough times as it is now difficult for the country to reverse the decision.

The Malawi Revenue Authority announced in a statement that the Amendment Bills to the Taxation Act, Value Added Tax Act and Customs and Exercise Act which were deliberated by Parliament have been gazetted and became law on August 19, 2016.

According to Kapito, there is nothing that can be done now to reverse the situation, saying the only time change would have been effected was before the passing of the amendments by Parliament.

“At that time we said that the Members of Parliament should reject amendments because some of the products that were put there like piped water were not supposed to attract any VAT. There is nothing that would change because the effect was from that time,” said Kapito.

He, however, warned that this implies that consumers will have to dig deeper in their pockets when accessing basic commodities.

And Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) has said its duty will only be to implement the proposed changes that have now become law.

LWB Spokesperson, Bright Sonani, said the board will effect price adjustment on its tariffs when it becomes necessary.

“This is a [piece of] legislation that was passed through Parliament, assented to and gazetted and as a board, we are just like any other implementing agency of government policies,” Sonani said.

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