Finance minister Goodall Gondwe was on Thursday under pressure from a cross section of Malawians to remove tax on milk which has pushed milk prices up, threatening the health of Malawians and the economy.
Gondwe was meeting a cross section of Malawians and other stakeholders in Lilongwe in pre-budget meetings.
The issue was raised by Malawi Milk Producers Association chairman Herbert Chagona who told Gondwe that the 16.5% VAT on milk has pushed milk prices up beyond the reach of most ordinary Malawians and would knock milk producers out of business.
“As I am speaking now, we have bulks and bulks of milk which we are failing to sell because of prices,” he said.
Others said the government should know better that if it wants a health nation fit to participate in development activities then it must remove tax on milk to push prices down for everyone to afford.
Gondwe said he was there to solicit views on what people want to be in the next budget therefore cannot make promises that tax on milk would be removed or reduced.
He also conceded that education standards in public schools continue to dwindle because of lack of adequate funding.
Gondwe said the government was drafting a new Malawi Growth Strategy paper which will make education another priority area and get enough funding.
He said education would be highly funded just like agriculture and health sectors. During the meeting, people complained of the high cost of living and government’s waste of money through the farm input program.