Expert hails scrapping off of VAT on water and cooking oil

Economic expert Milward Tobias has hailed government for scrapping off Value Added Tax (VAT) on water and cooking oil in the 2022/2023 national budget.

Presenting the budget in Parliament on Friday afternoon, Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe announced that VAT on water and cooking oil has been removed.

John Kapito: prices will go up

Commenting on the matter, economic expert Milward Tobias says the development will enable more Malawians to afford portable water, adding that if government cautiously implements the budget following the guidelines laid down by Gwengwe in his presentation, the country’s economy may slowly begin to recover.

Milward Tobias

“He explained a number of ways of boosting small, medium and large-scale businesses. There are also indications that the budget may now benefit a poor person from the rural Malawi. Removal of VAT on water will enable people in high density areas to assess portable water and money that could be used in buying drugs against water borne diseases could be saved,” explained Tobias.

But Director of Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA), John Kapito, says by clearly saying that the Kwacha may depreciate, the finance minister was actually telling Malawians that prices of goods will go up again and therefore the budget is not bringing any hope to Malawians.

“Removing VAT on water and cooking oil means very little. We have always said cooking oil prices have gone up with over 100% from October two years ago and so we don’t know what the 16% that has been removed will translate into,” Kapito argued.

The 2022/2023 national budget has been pegged at 2.84 trillion Kwacha representing 42% increase from last financial year’s budget which was for 9 months.

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