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Consumers, expert differ on tax reforms

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Emmanuel Kaluluma

The 2021/22 national budget presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Felix Mlusu on Friday continues attracting mixed reactions outside the Chamber.

Commenting on tax reforms introduced in the budget, local tax expert Emmanuel Kaluluma said, in future, political utterances have to be weighed properly as some of the measures are ill-timed.

But Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama), a body advocating consumers’ rights, has hailed the measures.

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Speaking in an interview, Kaluluma, however, said tax expenditures such as the duty-free week has been given at wrong time.

“This is the time the government should make a passionate appeal to employers to pay employees better so that their income can jump into the tax bracket so that more people make a contribution towards building our nation. The zero bracket at K100,000 means more people are in that income bracket and mean no payment of tax.

“The government has gone a step further to reduce the rate for those above K100,000 to 25 percent from 30 percent. Where does government get resources to deliver goods and services? These are the things as a nation we need to do some soul searching,” Kaluluma said.

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In a separate interview Cama Executive Director John Kapito said the budget looks good on issues affecting the consumer as it has been balanced to address issues of revenue generation and expenditure.

He added that the budget is also visionary in that it has incorporated the Malawi 2063 aspiration.

“We are happy to note that the budget is now addressing the provision of free electricity and water connections. This is what Malawians continue to complain about considering that we are one country with the poorest water and electricity connectivity,” he said.

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