The Malawi Human Rights Commission has challenged Malawi Government to fast track processes of finding solutions to the economic hardships Malawians are facing, arguing that the situation is negatively affecting peoples’ enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.
The development follows the recent hike in prices of goods and services, including fuel, water, electricity and rentals.
In a statement, the commission has demanded that government to provide a clear strategy on how it intends to address the problem of high cost living and supply chain as outlined in article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
“The Commission observes that for the past few months there has been a sharp rise in prices of fuel and basic commodities such as cooking oil (75%), water (52%); shortage of drugs in public hospitals; the introduction of 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) for non-banking services; and a slow pace in recruitment of teachers in public schools.
“All these developments have had a negative effect on the peoples’ enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights including vulnerable poor, rural women and persons with disabilities,” reads in part the statement signed by the commissions chairperson Scader Louis.
While commending government for broadening of the tax base in order to ensure that it generates adequate revenue to finance various public services, the commission said such measures should also take into account the existing worsening socio-economic conditions of the majority of Malawians who are struggling to cope with high cost of living.
The commission further said that there is need for government to strike a good balance between broadening tax base and creating a conducive socio-economic environment for all where reduction of poverty and wealth creation is not just a rhetoric but is evidenced by action and realistic action.
By Emmanuel Chilemba