Malawi used car dealers cry foul over higher duties

Small-scale importers of used cars in Malawi are crying foul over current taxation imposed on imported vehicles.

Soko: Worries that the duties are too high

Soko: Worries that the duties are too high

Second-hand cars from Japan parked at a roadside vehicle market in Biwi, Lilongwe. Credit:

Second-hand cars from Japan parked at a roadside vehicle market in Biwi, Lilongwe. Credit:

Malawi has seen an influx of used cars, mostly imported from Japan. The vehicles are sold at low prices, some as cheap as 2,500 dollars apiece.

Lilongwe Used Car Association (LUCA) are up in arms over the higher tax measures and  asked Minister of Finance Dr Goodall Gondwe to remove high taxes, arguing it  will destroy their businesses or result in much higher prices.

Ernest Zinyemba Soko,  speaking on behalf of the LUCA  executive told Nyasa Times that  the  duties are too high for  THE business to show a profit.

Soko said Malawi is a poor country and the citizens cannot afford to buy new vehicles from dealers such as Toyota Malawi, CEFAO, Tata, Automotive, Stansfield, Mahindra, or Mike Apple and Gatto.

The car traders claim the higher taxes  will kill small-scale dealers who depend on vehicle sales for their livelihood.

Soko said the car dealer will meet to lobby government to rescue them from the new tax measures.

In parliament this week,  Balaka North MP and UDF leader in the House, Lucius Banda, asked inance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe to consider reducing import duty and excise on vehicles.

Gondwe said old vehicles are hazards to the environment..

Banda argued that the majority of the citizenry fail to purchase vehicles because of extra import duty costs which he said were prohibitive.

But Gondwe responded: “The import duty and excise on vehicles are designed to minimise air pollution. In some countries, even those in Africa, they ban importation of such cars or pay extra taxes.”

However, Banda maintained that the duty is so prohibitive,  that it takes some people five years to pay by which time the vehicles have become ziphakasala (not road worthy).

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63 thoughts on “Malawi used car dealers cry foul over higher duties”

  1. Chifundo says:

    Lucious usatikwane wamva ndipo usamatichitise manyazi. Paja ndi iwe. Imenei nkhani osafufuza kae kuti maiko Enawa zikukhala bwanji. Nkha Iyi ndi ya kalekale mmalo moti uzilouza boma kuti lititane ma company ogulisa ma galimoto zoona uzikamba A mkutuzo

  2. Zuna says:

    It is only in Malawi where you see someone earning less than $500 a month owing a car. That is why you see alot of unroadworthy vehicles on the roads since owners cannot even properly and timely service their cars. The government should just reintroduce city buses and we will not be desperate to buy or use our private vehicles to and from work. In other countries you may earn more than $2000 per month but still use public transport everyday.

  3. Eya says:

    kodi akudandaula ndi ogula kapena ogulisa. mmalo moti muziganiza zoti tingatani kuti tizipanga manufacture tokha magalimoto zaziiiiii. musatibowepo apa ife timaenda pasi olo kabanza iya. Bola atasisa msonkho wama minibus ndimvesa koma zoti apange benefit anthu ochepazo.

  4. Laurent says:

    Munthu ungamakhale ku diaspora ndikumatumiza ma phokonyore a more than 8years Ndiye kutha maplan tu osangovwelera kumuzi bwanji kumakalima

  5. Phiri la Dzunje says:

    How on earth can you compare Japan and Malawi thats total rubbish how many industries does Japan have yes they dismantle cars its simply because almost each and everybody can afford a car and as a result its always traffic jam and you compare such country with Malawi idiots the truth is duty is just way up needs to be reduced so much so that people can afford to import cars from outside the country even people living in diaspora are even finding it so hard to send cars back home please authorities do something over this issue

    1. Kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk says:

      Indeed Malawi can not be compared to Japan that’s why it has become a dumping site for used vehicles.

  6. Atsogoleri says:

    Mukuona ngati boma lingamakhale busy ndiopepera zo. Is angoyanba business yogulisa tsabola bwa. Kodi bwanji a Malawi simunkonda Dziko lanu. Even ku Japan ko Munthu kuti ataye galimoto it’s expensive koyarira ndi kuno? School ndiyofunikatu

  7. Kaliati Galu says:

    Only a Governt that is not for the people can respond like Gondwe. How many ppl in Malawi can afford to buy even a second hand car? very few, and yet high duties instead of making it softer, even free to allow many people to have accsess. DPP a club of Devils..

    1. Angel of Doom says:

      If you can not afford it why do you want it in the country?

    2. Chablack says:

      Is it a must to have a car. Go to japan many people are rich but they use bicycles. Kuno mukangoba mma officemu basi muzitisokosera ndi maphokonyore otaidwa ku Japan. Govt MUST increase taxes for those vehicle. The govt in Japan even give money to those companies selling these phokonyores for helping govt dispose off those vehicles. Tamachangukani inu

  8. Luwano says:

    he doesn’t think of us
    how can he say that old cars brings pollution?
    at his farm in mitundu he is also using old cars
    why cant he start showing us example by buying new cars at his farm,

    1. JJB says:

      He has not said do not buy old cars, but pay Duty. So if he has old cars he paid duty for them.

    2. konzs says:

      Inuyo ndi amene simuziganizira ndi kukonda dziko lanu. The

  9. Mphwache says:

    Baba Gondwe, you must be getting something from New Vehicle Dealers for any car they sell, otherwise why the stance you are taking. Inu boma mumagula magalimoto kwa iwo, ifa anthu timagula magalimoto a second hand, our vehicles are small and don’t consume fuel like, hence our carbon footprint is also smaller. Environmentally, we are doing better than you, koma tikulephera getting cars hence we keep on running the very same old cars that are now an environmental hazard and an accident hazard, zonsezi chifukwa cha kuyipa mtima kwanu. Please allow us to import anything upto 1.6 litre engine duty free.

  10. nyengo says:

    Please quote pollution indices in Malawi Goodall you sub-human primate!! Malawi does not have enough industrialisation and development to have a pollution problem, NY. London, Bonn, Paris, LA yes- but not LL or BT!! Jeeez!! this is monkey economics!!! may you ALL ROT IN HELL!!!!!!! mother fornicators!!!

  11. logisitics gondwe says:

    The truth is that all cars dealers in Malawi import cars specifically for the Govnt, and Private NGo’s and for an ordinary Malawians. For instance Govt vehicles when they are due for service they send them to Toyota Malawi where only one vehicle service charge cutters half salaries of the employees and the cut for those sending cars or authorise from the Government and we know it well. Gondwe should tell the Nation the car he was using whilst working abroad, similar to the same sold by roadside and yet here he always goes to Toyota Malawi for high cost vehicle SIKUBA KOKHA KOKHA KUMENEKO? People like Gondwe will never appreciate with what they have and this is why ANGOTI KA KA KA PA NTCHITO OSASIYIRA WANA AMENE TSOPANO WAMALIZA MA SCHHOOL AWO KUNJA KOMWEKO KUNALI IYEYO godwe kaya mukuti chiyani wanuyo.

  12. gaba says:

    99percent of malawians can not afford a new car from toyota malawi so let us biy what we can afford.If you think malawi is poluting the ozone layer go to USA ,russia,Japan or china thats where you will find the ozone culplits

  13. Izizi says:

    Strangely MPs and ministers, including the president have a waiver to import cars duty free, while an average citizen is required to pay prohibitive taxes on car imports.
    At the end of the day we see one president abusing the facility by importing 300 vehicles. Even the MPs are seen to order big engine cars and older cars. Why can’t the government put a condition allowing MPs to only import duty free only cars less than 5years old and with engine sizes of not more than 1500cc.
    Why are MPs and ministers treated as better persons than an averagetax payer when even their salaries are drawn from public funds?
    If the government is serious, then all cars less than 5 years old and less than 1500cc should be duty free.

  14. Nyaliki says:

    GG analikale. He no longer thinks. How many Malawians can buy a new vehicle cash? You are out of touch with people and reality. Many individuals who have been buying new vehicles cash are involved in cashgate. And you want to punish Malawians because they buy second hand cars? Please reduce the taxes.

  15. kelvin says:

    ndichifukwa chake timafuna nduna zachinyamata kuti zizingwirizana ndinyengo yasopano ameneyu wakura azikalera zizukulu kumudzi

    1. Tamalekani says:

      Tamayendani inu palibeso za nkhalamba APA munazolowera zama deal basi. Nkhani Iyi nfi ya kalekale it started with Ken Kandodo. Maiko ambiri salola magalimoto opitilira zaka 5.ingosinthani business we are in a global world. Achinyamata ake amene angalolere zimenezo ndi a pp coz ndi ma bulutu. MCP kukhala ngati ambiri ndi openya amadziwa zochitika pa dziko

  16. Patriot says:

    Nde boma loyendetsa ngalamba limenelo.
    Anakweza passport fee, licence fee, cof fee and it bounced back againstbthrir expectations.
    With a vast experience they still show signs of stupidity.
    DPP is a useless INCOMPETENT gouvernment

  17. Ujeni says:

    Kodi chimene boma silipanga banagalimoto a more than 5years from being imported ndi chani. Ban those cars or put 100 % excise on them. Kuno kusakhale kotayira iyaaaa

    1. ujeni says:

      iwe small Ujeni, Stop using my name you bloody imposter. Can the moderator/Editor stop this wanachi using my name

  18. brutsha says:

    The issue of ozone layer destruction could be true but it can’t be the legitimate explanation for the high duties on imported used cars. Those of us who have a chance to fly over highly industrialized countries would see huge amounts of carbon emissions into the skies. That’s where carbon emissions issues are of immediate relevance. But governments there turns a blind eye on them because they know that’s what drives their economies. If I may ask, how many cars on the roads does Malawi have to cause ozone layer depletion? Visit cities of industrialized countries then you will see what I mean. In Malawi the car volume is just too small to explain ozone layer depletion.Don’t deny the poor the taste of driving a car. After all the public transport system in Malawi is an eye sore on its own. You the rich in Malawi afford cars from dealers like Toyota Malawi, Stansfield, CFAO, etc because of cashgate and other crooked means. If anything,Malawi should be focusing it’s attention, when it comes to environmental issues, on deforestation. Bwanji kuipa mtima ndi nkhope yomwe?

  19. protect malawi,we are not adumping place.until when will we continue to be second hand consumers.But apoint of order mr goodall politicians are busy depleting chikangawa with illegal timber busines

  20. Jozza says:

    While I agree with GG on the other hand but let him also know that most of these 2nd hand cars from Jpbf r less fuel consumption hence envirnmental friendly.

  21. Parallel Market says:

    No problem with duty. Whoever wants to pay less duty should buy cars less than eight years old. Dont import very old cars into Malawi as if Malawi is a dumping ground. How can s car cost $200? Osangoti bola takwera galimoto think first. I urge Govt to be tough on importation of second hand vehicles. Increase duty to bar people from importing these old ziphapha. Instead let there be a grace period on duty payment for importation of new buses, new coasters, new trucks and new construction machinery. These are what our country need in order to accelerate development not old nissan notes, tiidas, xtrails, etc that are flooding our roads.

  22. Pichi says:

    Anywhere old cars fetch high taxes. People in the West sale these cars to run away from these taxes so why should Malawi be an exception. Transfer the costs to the buyer basi. Malawi is not a dumping ground of these cars. Business-mindedness is what is degrading environment. Kumangoona ma profit basi as if its the only thing. I think the MPs are wise enough to vote on this.

  23. Angel of Doom says:

    Why is it so hard for Malawians to understand simple things?

    To import a car from Japan requires cash generated in Malawi.

    example you have MK 100,000 you use it to buy car from Japan, money has now gone to Japan. you need say MK 20,000 tax you have spent in total MK 120,000 (MK 100,000 gone to Japan and MK 20,000 still in Malawi to be used for buying medicines)
    Car comes to Malawi.

    You sell car for MK 150,000 (you have transfered the burden of all the costs to the buyer, but the situation is the same MK 100,000 has gone to Japan)

    The car needs fuel and spare parts, being old spare parts are immediate expenses, so more money is sent to Japan for spares and some to Saudi for fuel. (More money leaving Malawi and nothing coming back)

    car is used as Taxi, (this is just a transfer of the burden from taxi owner to customers, so people that use the taxi are paying for spares and fuel-money going out)

    so we can see the car we bought from japan is not an investment, but a drain on resources.

    The worst case scenario is , because the car is old and over loaded, it has an accident killing all on board, one of whom was the only qualified Malawian surgeon on his way to work. This is not a far fetched scenario.

    The money that comes into Malawi is earned by people with no cars. Villagers who farm beans, maize etc that gets experted. Have you wondered why Government does not tax big lorries? ( they carry the produce that brings in money, not cars)

    I should end here and let someone disagree as usual.

  24. Environmental scientist says:

    Goodall can you increase exercise on all vehicles of more than 5 years to 50% or ban them. Sikotaira kuno

  25. S soso says:

    Mr GG, pliz, consider Malawians. Kodi inu ndi akunja? Know dat there are some who can manage to buy things at ahigh price like u, bt others cannot afford. Simumakondwera kuti anzanu nawo adziyenda mmagalimoto ao? Anzanunso amafuna ataima pa filling station kuthiritsa fuel mgalimoto yao. Eeeee, ndinu otani????

  26. ujeni says:

    To say duty is high so as to cab cars which can cause pollution is lame and stupid reason. How many cars are in Malawi or in Africa compared to Europe or Asia? Apart from that do we have industries that give out high emissions? Malawi is just a tiny small dot on this planet earth. It will take million years for Malawi to reach the levels of USA or European countries yet we are punishing ourselves just to impress the industrialised countries who are not even doing much to cab the emissions.

  27. Seleman? says:

    wait a minute….whilst there is some sense in what gg is saying, the majority should rule!


    … if serious, our MPs can fight for this cause and the taxes can be reduced through the same Parliament… GG needs convincing counter arguments…dont just accept what he says or directs…..aaaaaah shame!

    1. Zaa Zii says:

      Listen to yourself, its not about numbers, its about reality.

      there are more cars in Malawi than is necessary. A car is not and has never been and will never be an investment, it is a drain on anyones resources, and pollutes the environment.

      We’ve just had a flood of unequaled proportions what do you think the cause of that is?

      Japan is getting rich on the backs of stupid Malawians like you by offloading their junk, while you complain of poverty every day while you buy junk with your hard earned cash, what do you sell to Japan in return?

      Do not look at the person, then decide, listen to the message.

  28. sunderstar says:

    Mr Goodall Gondwe is an old man and his level of understanding on things is blurred. The polpulation of cars in Malawi has not reached the stage to cause pollution, pollution is caused by big manufacturing industries not small cars and we are also polluting our land by wanton cutting of trees and uncontrolled burning of forests which causes floods not cars. Cars always help develop countries and this will drive our economy fast. People will move to places fast and goods and passengers will benefit a lot to reach their destinations in time and at a cheaper cost. Godall Gondwe and the government are trying to protect the New Motor Vehicle traders like Toyota, CFAO, STANSFIELD MOTORS, MIKE APPEL and many more. I would rather ask Parliamentarians to force this Government to reduce the Duties to help Malawians who depend on this trade survive, why advance and assist foreigners who are selling new vehicles at extremly high prices that A Malawian who will directly help the ECONOMY while these big cars sellers externalise their profits to Japan or RSA.

    1. JJB says:

      What an idiot!!

      Are you saying the air in Malawi stays in Malawi? and the air in industrialised countries also just stays there.

      If there was a nuclear war in Europe, do you realise that people would be dying as far away as Malawi?

      Think about it.

      The Government of Malawi, not Gondwe is saying buy old cars if you want but pay duty, very simple.

      Countries contribute to global eradication of greenhouse gases (Financially and in the case of poor countries by reducing them)

      Why do you think that manufacturers are making electric cars even buses? and electric cars in most countries do not pay road tax?

      Malawians you will die poor because of your poor thinking

  29. KANDAWE says:


  30. Toti says:

    Government to encourage the citizens to be using kabanza saononga chilengedwe and good for people’s health it’s part of exercise Kuno kusakhale kutayira magalimoto.

  31. tsetsefly says:

    What Goodall or Badall is saying is tantamount to a hippo trying to hide behind a small shrub. Tell us this is part of the austerity measures govt is implementing. Tell us this is a desparate move by a desperate govt which is trying to milk thin cows. While the Environmnetal management argument may be understood by some of us, the mojarity are very far from understanding anyting about it. Then there is a leadership sickness where you ban or prohibit something without providing an alternative. The use of charcoal for example is one funny thing I have laughed govt off. You continue to preach against use of charcoal yet less than 10% of population has access to electricity. The use of paraffin is almost a nonstarter because the prices of petroluem is way above the reach of an average Malawi

    Let us face it you politician have failed us because of your greedy. You siphon money meant for pro-poor projects and build or buy massions in Europe. You are heartless. And when we ask you to help us reduce some taxes so that we can breath some sigh of relief you ignore us. You sould understand that what goes up will one day come down. You the DPP know this very well. So please come up with solution before you impliment measures that the population sees it as simply trying to skin them off.

  32. mbuli ya ku south and central says:

    Taxes in Malawi are pathetic. The government has no wish to help small business owners but to punish. There are no tax breaks to promote growth. This government is killing the small man in Malawi. Who can afford a brand new car in Malawi on these salaries, only if you have cash gate money. Malawi has highest tax levels, fuel prices and the lowest salary levels in Africa so how can you expect growth of the economy. This country needs to be closed as it’s not fit for purpose. Please Gondwe resign and don’t give us stupid excuses as you are clueless on what is happening in Malawi. Another tax on offals.

  33. CHIYAMBA says:


  34. Sothini. says:

    Goodal, no!! U know latest % of fuel reduction, Order business tycoons to reduce cost same, but u are silent.
    l dont know being a Finance Wizard u think over poor Malawians.

  35. m'Malawi says:

    We can’t all be driving our own cars, each one usingbiur precious Forex to buy fuel to put in his basket car and cry about the exchange rate. Txes need to be raised even higher on cars so we all start thinking and demanding better public transport both within and across districts and even at night. Individual cars for everyone is a wasteful way to run the economy. Even developed countries value their public transport.

    Ma car dealers awa cry a lot but refuse to pay income tax on their profits. I have no sympathy for them. Tax tisamangolipila ogwira ntchito tokhafe. We all use these roads and hospitals, so we should all be paying tax, even mwini wokala.

  36. sothini says:

    True A GONDWE how many people right from ur home, “ENUKWENI”, can afford purchasing brand new car. U were my low model, now???. Lucius spoke, listen to him.

  37. me says:

    there is nothing wrong with taxes, Malawians should start taking responsibility now and of course Malawi is not a damping site for used cars even in europe or elsewhere people take years to finish paying for their cars Malawians should follow lead.

  38. Collins Wodzichepetsa says:

    Zoona bwana SOKO zithuzi nzakalekale , oyendesanso naye wakalekale

  39. My question is does that etra money paid for importing these ziphakasa go straight to dpt which deal in controlling pollution? If not then why do you charge us?

  40. dalitso says:

    I believe Hon Gondwe is not being realistic with the feedback back he is giving to the house and let alone the country as whole. As a matter of fact, not only Malawi can manage to solve the pollution issues as it is global dilemma. Is he saying by applying taxes that are punishing is solving the problem? He should admit that the government is milking less preveladged and hard working Malawians. That excuse is not viable

  41. Dammie says:

    So wat does the govt do with the extra charged money on these cars to remedy the environment being polluted by the same cars?

  42. Tingopenya says:

    A Goodal bodzatu limeli. Should we say that the you accumulate is used to conserve environment? not at all. What u need to know is that yes we are depleting the environment but our contribution is just very minimal globally. Azungu ndi ochenjera, akupusitsani chabe. they are the ones who are destroying much of ozone layer through their numerous industries. Mongopweteka abale anu ovutika. Put more money KU foresry and recruit more officers kuti azikalondera nkhalango zathu ngati nthawi ya Kamuzu, not kumangobwebwetuka zopanda mutu.

  43. Wids Matewere says:

    Get it Mr. Soko while you are crying for high profits but the drastic effects affects us all. You should read documents on environmental and ozone depletion and you will appreciate something. Even the tobacco that we claim brings in forex but brings with it far reaching health hazards which are very costly than the benefits from tobacco. We need extensive civic education on this for people of Sokos mind to appreciate something.

  44. Amanganagumula says:

    The logic of pollution is so weird. If we were assembling cars in Malawi I would agree to that nonsense.

  45. nyausikizi says:

    people get it that we do not have adequate infrastructure to support so many vehicles in Malawi. 2. air pollution. 3. Malawi is not a dumping ground for ziphakasa. Head on Goodall!

  46. Likoma Economist says:

    In Malawi, “A fine is a tax for doing wrong; while a tax is a fine for doing right.” It is so weired!

  47. pastor nyalapa says:

    nothing for us without us

  48. concerned citizen says:

    true, very true, the duty our government impose on imported vehicles is just beyond limit. please our government consider us your people as soon as possible. Malawians are very hard working people but they get oppressed by their own government instead of the government supporting them, very bad!

  49. mukhitho says:

    Muzamutikhumba zuwa ndimoza Para pazakanjira njoka

  50. mukhitho says:

    Mwe agoodall Gondwe how many are we who casnn manage to buy. Acar from Toyota Malawi pliz think properly on that BWANA

  51. tuvitwana says:

    On this ONLY, I salute u Lusius. But generally, u have changed tobe A YES BWANA TYPE. We knew u as a tough guy but thiz days ur not.
    Atupele is cheating u coz u will still nid us in 2019 unless u say u will have joined DPP as at already shows now

  52. Wokomaatani says:

    Don’t blame it on duty but end oe cashgate. With cashgate these cars were selling. The accounts clerks and many other civil servants bought cars with stolen money.

    1. GONDWELLIN says:

      muzamutikhanda aKabazamaba Gondwe para mwakhira mkhunimo.

    2. Mhesha says:

      Agreed. That’s the only thing they should blame.

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