By Chikondi Manjawira
BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has wore a smile over the Minister of Finance’s withdraw of the one percent final withholding tax on Non-Bank Mobile money transactions.
CAMA’s Executive director John Kapito expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Finance and the government for listening to its calls for the withdraw of the said Tax on Wednesday in Blantyre.
In his cheery mood, Kapito said that the withdraw of the Tax has a positive impact on the livelihoods of many Malawians who have now adopted usage of mobile phones as a means of financial inclusion.
“We are thankful to have such a listening government and the Minister that it pleased him to withdraw the Tax. We are also grateful to the media for the raise of knowledge of that particular Tax that it was now shared and discussed by a lot of people.
“The Tax was going to hurt the most vulnerable people in the remote areas who don’t have access to banks. The removal of the Tax will help promote financial inclusion initiative”, said Kapito.
Kapito further said that the Minister of Finance feels that the charges on mobile money services are way too high that they need to be reduced and regulated.
This follows the fact that most Malawians are now using mobile phones for a number of transactions which include savings but also for paying bills for various services.
Mobile phone networks also provide employment to a large number of Malawians mostly women and whose income is dependent on transactions by mobile phones.
“I also met the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi who said they are now working on new regulations and guidelines that will guide the mobile transaction charges so that the charges can be reduced to influence consumers not to hold on to cash but rather prefer E-payment wherever they maybe”, added Kapito.
He however pointed out that there is still a battle to fight for the benefits of the mobile Money transaction Agents because about 40,000 agents depend on the transactions as a source of employment and mostly complain of not getting the pay they are supposed to get.
This will somehow improve the livelihoods of average Malawians especially women who mostly work as Agents compared to men.
CAMA has over the past weeks been lobbying for the removal of the 1.0 percent mobile money transaction tax following the Minister’s announcement through the 2019/2020 Budget statement section 146 that government introduced the above mentioned final withholding tax on non bank mobile money transactions based on the transaction amount.