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CfSC says not relenting on tax-free bracket

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The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has said it has not given up on lobbying government to consider its plea to have the tax-free income tax band in the 2018/19 national budget raised to K50,000.

CfSC Executive Director, Father Jos Kuppens, said the centre, together with several other civil society organisations (CSOs), feel the proposed K35,000 tax-free band is “too insignificant” to cushion low-income earners from hardships resulting from the rising cost of living.

Kuppens made the remarks during a public debate his organisation conducted in Lilongwe on Saturday night.

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He said low-income earners are already weighed down by other forms of taxes when they are purchasing basic needs and/or paying for social services.

“In fact, we preferred K80,000 tax-free band but because of the already given objections by government, we agreed that it should be K50,000. That’s why we are not happy with the K35, 000 tax-free band because people are already paying many other taxes,” he said.

Kuppens said the centre will, therefore, conduct a number of debates to solicit views from the public on how the CSOs can re-engage the government and Members of Parliament (MPs) as debate on the national budget starts in earnest in a few days.

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“We want to make sure that, when budget discussions start, people are reminded of the cost of living,” he said.

Before Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, presented the 2018/19 National Budget in the National Assembly last Friday, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi pleaded with the government to raise the tax-free bracket to a reasonable amount.

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