LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi’s Members of Parliament (MPs) for Natural Resources and Agriculture Committees on Monday, 22 March 2021 rejected Value Added Tax (VAT) removal on soap instead preferred water related equipment for Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH)’ promotion.
The lawmakers observe that VAT removal on soap will not have great impact on people but rather a burden on national budget.
The development comes as Malawi joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Water Day which falls on March 22, yearly.
In an interface meeting with Parliament’s Natural Resources and Agriculture Committees in the capital Lilongwe, World Vision Malawi engaged the lawmakers to remove VAT on soap to improve hygiene amid Covid-19 spike.
Agriculture Committees vice chairperson Ulemu Chilopondwa observes that there be huge deficit on national if soap VAT is removed saying revenue collection continues to decline.
Chilapondwa therefore appeals for more civil education on importance of soap usage in rural areas while increasing communities’ sources of income for accessing basic needs.
“Removing VAT on soap will not have impact at all but rather will burden out national budget whose revenue collection base still declining. We need to empower our people financially that are able to buy a tablet of soap for hygiene,” says Chilapondwa.
Phalombe Central legislator Million added that there should be close corroboration of stakeholders in WASH rather than leaving the whole task to World Vision.
Lawmaker Chomanika chipped in saying removal of VAT on water related equipment including boreholes drilling, mechanization and among others will add value towards WASH promotion.
World Vision Malawi’s Director of Operation Charles Chimombo says his organization will continue to lobby for WASH advancement including tax reduction on water related equipment.
Chimombo observes that VAT reduction on WASH related materials will an able the public to improve their hygiene for good health.
He assured the nation that in next two years most communities will have access to safe portable water as it remains a challenge for many households.
About 63% of Malawi population does not access safe portable water that only 2% in rural areas use soap.