Minibus Owners association of Malawi (MOAM) has threatened to hold vigil at Parliament building if the legislators dare to approve the 2013/2013 national budget without scrapping off duty on imported minibuses.
The association has since penned Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga seeking audience with him to express their grievances on government’s decision to remove levy on big buses, leaving out small buses which constitute almost 85 percent of the country’s transportation.
MOAM chairperson, Christopher Chisesele disclosed in an interview with Nyasa Times that there is a need for government to consider their grievances on new tax measures incorporated this year’s national budget.
“We are optimistic that the minister will grant us the audience before Parliament passes the budget this Friday. If we are not given that chance, then we will have no option but to take our minibuses to the Parliament building and hold vigils until we are heard,” Chisesele said.
Outspoken Chisesele said the association was heavily victimized by the just abandoned Zero Deficit Budget (ZDB) adopted by former DPP regime, adding “It is now time we are part of those who will benefit from the new tax reforms introduced by the current administration”.
“Why are we not considered, why are we not allowed to benefit from tax removal? We are the ones providing about 85 percent of transportation in this country and deserve to be considered. Being a new and different administration, we feel they will hear us and consider our views, otherwise minibuses are heavily taxed,” he added.
Moam Secretary General Coxley Kamange told Nyasa Times that removing duty on large buses has the potential of killing minibus business which he claimed is key to the country’s transport sector.
Kamange further observed that the previous government made the similar move which he said ended up benefiting a pocket of individuals with ties to the ruling government.
As part of new tax reforms to be implemented in the 2012/2013 national financial budget, which is more of pro-business than pro-poor, government has removed importation duty on big buses among other tax removals.
Lipenga told parliament that government observed “a deterioration in many of the large buses and high rate of accidents caused by minibuses travelling long distances. ”
He said : In order to sustain the development of this sector, Government has removed all taxes currently existing on big buses of a seating capacity of more than 45 passengers (including the driver).”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :