BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)-The country’s fearless consumers rights body, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) has joined the bandwagon of accusing commercial banks for milking citizens hard earned money through unjustifiable taxes put on services offered to customers.

CAMA’s outburst comes barely a few days after Banks Association of Malawi (BAM) announced that effective November 1, 2021, Value Added Tax (VAT) of 16.5% will be introduced to customers.

The development that angered general public and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) arguing that the 16.5% VAT introduction was not justifiable and unacceptable.

Eventually, CAMA over the weekend issued the statement accusing banks of day light robbery on Malawians.

The consumers body Executive director John Kapito observes that commercial banks have turned into robbery houses that needed to be tamed.

“The Banks have introduced VAT on most of their services this will have a huge negative cost on Consumers deposits as they will be required to pay various high transaction charges and other bank charges.

We are aware that most of the Banks recently increased their transaction charges and bank service charges and we assumed the VAT transaction charges were part of those increased bank charges therefore, the reintroduction of new
transaction charges in the name of VAT is unacceptable and unjustifiable”, reads in part CAMA statement issued on Saturday, October 30, 2021.

It added, ” Consumers have complained consistently over time regarding the high bank charges and a number transaction costs and this has had an effect on financial inclusion as most of the Consumers started to close their bank accounts and currently the number of Malawian Consumers with bank accounts are still low because of these unnecessary bank charges.

These high bank charges and transaction costs have affected the Financial Literacy Program which was centered on educating Consumers on benefits of saving money with the banks”.

Kapito bites, “Consumers were continuously informed on how unsafe it was to keep money within their homes and that saving money with the Bank has long term benefits, it is now surprising that the very same thief that Consumers were taught to run away from and warned against is now operating within the Banks and where Consumers deposits and savings will be stolen through high bank charges and transaction costs in the name of VAT.

“This is a threat to financial inclusion program and our appeal to Consumers is to immediately consider withdrawing their money from the Banks and keep the money safe in their homes, with the current situation it is dangerous for anybody to assume that there will be safety of your money at the Bank with the new thief that has now become part of
the Bank. Consumers will only wake up one day and only to find that their money in the bank has been wiped-out”.

President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse government is yet to respond on matter as the law was introduced in Malawi Parliament under his watch.

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