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CfSC says not relenting on tax-free bracket

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.

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.

“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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