There is fear that a good number of Malawians could lose their jobs in a number of companies because of smuggling.
Despite the government’s promise to enhance border patrols, the situation on the ground is different as smugglers continue to evade tax easily while frustrating local manufacturers at the same time.
A snap survey at Mwanza border exposed a lot of uncharted routes through which cooking oil, wheat flour and fizzy drinks are rampantly smuggled even during the day.
Smugglers are using all manner of transportation ranging from bicycles, motorbikes and cars to smuggle the commodities.
The cooking oil industry is one of the hardest hit as a result of price hike following the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT).
A representative of the cooking oil industry, Rajneesh Dabral, who is Operations In-Charge at Value Chain Limited, said they were worried with the influx of smuggled cooking oil.
He feared the industry would downsize if government does not intervene. This would lead to unexpected loss of jobs by many Malawians.
“The sector is patiently awaiting respite from this situation as several representations have been made to the relevant authorities,” said Dabral.
Meanwhile, some workers in cooking oil companies are fearing for their jobs following the reduction of shifts.
“Previously we could do three or four shifts but now we are doing two shifts and chances are that we will be having a single shift. If they (employers) can’t make profits then we will obviously be fired,” said one worker.
If the cooking oil industry fires workforce, then it will be a blow to the Tonse Alliance led-government after promising to create one million jobs.
Some quarters have however been questioning government for introducing VAT on cooking as the commodity alongside sugar, wheat flour and salt were among fortified products which needed to be easily accessible.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :