BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s civil rights group Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has challenged Malawi Parliament on deliberating debates for the national budget which will bail out locals from economic hardships.
The grouping has dared Members of Parliament (MPs) to focus on local peoples needs than that of their political party leaders including scrapping off VAT (tax) on cooking oil, fuel levies and other punitive taxes on basic commodities.
The call comes ahead of 2021/2021 National Budget Parliament session slated for Wednesday, May 12, 2021 in the capital Lilongwe.
In a press statement made available to The Maravi Post on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa expects the budget session for pro-poor that President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse administration be deliver to campaign promises made during June 23, 2020 Fresh Presidential Elections.
Below is CDEDI full statement on Parliament:
LET THE PARLIAMENTARY DELIBERATIONS FOCUS ON THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, AND PRESIDENT CHAKWERA TO SET A CLEAR ROADMAP FOR THE DELIVERY OF ALL THE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN PROMISES
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), and indeed all Malawians of good will would like to challenge Members of Parliament (MPs) and President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera that Malawians, the
majority of whom are the voters, expect nothing less than a pro-poor kind of budget sitting of parliament, which should translate into a drop in the current high cost of living due to among other things, unrealistic and punitive tax
It is an open secret that this meeting of parliament, which is expected to commence on Wednesday, 12th May 2021, is coming at a time when the majority of Malawians are struggling to make ends meet, due to punitive taxes, levies, high interest rates and exorbitant prices on essential services and products such as water, electricity, fuel and high mobile phone tariffs, etc.
CDEDI is meanwhile, challenging MPs to rise above petty party politics, and introduce motions, including healthy debates which should raise very pertinent questions that should result into the scrapping off of the 16.5 percent VAT on cooking oil, review of some of the unjustifiable levies and tariffs on fuel,electricity and water, to ensure the reduction of the high cost of production which is threatening the survival of the local industry.
CDEDI would like to maintain its stand that the punitive tax regimes in the country are scaring off prospective investors, while the existing ones are closing shop, a development that has made smuggling of goods to flourish, at the expense of local production.
The country is in the process exporting jobs and externalizing the much-needed forex on one hand, while on the other hand, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) is losing out on taxes and revenue.
Similarly, CDEDI is once again challenging President Chakwera to cease the opportunity to share with Malawians a very clear roadmap, detailing how his government is going to implement the Tonse Alliance manifesto, having failed
to do the same during his inaugural State of the Nation (SoNA) in the 2020/2021 fiscal year. We don’t want the trial-and-error kind of leadership which we are currently witnessing, whereby the President tells Malawians one
priority area today, and a totally different priority area the following day.
CDEDI is also asking the national assembly to debate and review the 2011 Pension Act, especially sections 64 and 65 that give inhumane restrictions to access to pension funds in an event that the contributor loses a job.
The two sections have seen Malawi sending its productive citizens to an early grave due to lack of funds to pay for medical care elsewhere, when their money is lying idle with the respective pension administrators, purportedly waiting for the mandatory retirement age of 60!
CDEDI is further challenging the MPs to ensure that they exercise their oversight role to pressurize the Tonse Alliance government to ensure that it addresses the gray areas in the MK6.2 Billion Covid-19 scandal, and the
MK17.5 billion allocated for the same.
Lastly, but not the least, CDEDI would like to warn MPs to desist from towing their masters’ line in total disregard of the will of the electorates, as doing so would make us not to hesitate in mobilizing the masses to stand up against
such selfish political interests.
Signed by: Sylvester Namiwa, CDEDI Executive Director