That life is becoming more unbearable for ordinary Malawians with each passing day goes without saying. While President Peter Mutharika and his administration continue to brag that the economy is getting back on track, there is nothing on the ground to write home about.
It, therefore, came as good news to most struggling Malawians when Members of Parliament resolved to remove Value Added Tax (Vat) on cooking oil. But to the dismay of many Malawians, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has not yet written cooking oil manufacturers to effect the law that MPs passed in Parliament.
It is a known fact that members of the Cabinet and executive management of MRA do not see the need to effect the change in Vat because the very poor tax-payer they are punishing pays for the life styles of these ruling elites, through obscene privileges that they award themselves.
Malawians who meet their own grocery needs know that the price of cooking oil, which is manufactured from local agricultural products, is beyond their reach. Why would a struggling Malawian be expected to pay a minimum of K6,500 for a five litre bottle of locally produced cooking oil?
The government, through MRA, is shooting itself in the foot when it comes to making money. Because locally produced cooking oil is very exorbitant, some unscrupulous traders are smuggling into the country cheap cooking oil from neighbouring countries. The net result is that Malawi is working hard to boost economies of its neighbours while starving its own purse.
Development partners, including the World Bank, have expressed worry over acute malnutrition that is rampant among Malawians of all ages. The development partners have poured in millions of dollars to try and save the malnourished Malawians.
One of the food items that Malawians need to fight this shameful malnutrition is cooking oil and yet the government, through MRA, continues to ensure that such a basic necessity is out of the reach of millions of Malawians who are trying hard to earn a living through honest means.
We wish to advise government and MRA that Malawians cannot perform any magic to substitute cooking oil in their dietary needs. Besides funding its neighbours, government is sending its citizens to their early graves due to cancer diseases engendered by poorly refined oils, which prove cheaper.
Ironically, when the MPs resolve to increase taxes, MRA effects the resolution by midnight of the same day. We, therefore, call upon the government to show a little appreciation to its struggling citizens by making good of the MPs resolution. If government has no feelings for poor Malawians, then it should do the needful as a sign of goodwill to its cooperating partners who are spending money from tax-payers in their countries.
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