Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiative (CDEDI) has urged government to remove 16.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking oil, saying Malawians are suffering due to a rise in cooking oil prices.
Speaking with reporters after a press briefing which CDEDI conducted in Lilongwe, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said the rise in cooking oil prices has heavily affected the average Malawians and small scale businessperson who rely on the commodity to produce their goods.
He added that the local cooking manufacturers are slowly being pushed out of the market by some business people who are smuggling low quality and hazardous cooking oil into the country, at cheaper prices, thereby putting the lives of many Malawians in danger.
Namiwa noted that local manufacturers are threatening to lay off almost 50% of their workforce, should the Malawi government fail to intervene on the matter.
“The threats from the local cooking oil producers have come hot on the heels of the news about the closure of tobacco processing firm in Lilongwe. Recently, Minister of Labour, Ken Kandodo shamelessly told Malawians that the Tonse Alliance government is unable to tell on whether or not the 1 Million jobs are indeed being created,” he said
He then went on to say that the scaling down of cooking oil production has affected the prices of raw materials for the commodity, such as Soya beans and sunflower due to low demand from the manufacturers, thereby hitting very hard on the small-scale farmers who mostly rely on the cash crops for their livelihood
He noted that Tonse Alliance government promised the people who put them into the current position that they will reduce prices of goods but now the prices of goods are increasing day in day out.
Blessings Nkungula who is a farmer from Kawale 2 said at the press briefing that government promised farmers that this year’s market of cash crops will be favorable to farmers but it seems that will not happen.
Before the introduction of the VAT last year, 2 litres of cooking oil for most brands was being sold at about K2,000 but now the same bottle is going at about K3,200.