Member of Parliament for Machinga East, Esther Jolobala, has asked the Government of Malawi through the Ministry Finance to consider removing surtax on internet saying the surtax is making internet to remain expensive and it is affecting the citizens of Malawi.
The MP made a request on Tuesday 5th April, 2022 in Parliament when she asked the Minister of Information Gospel Kazako on why Malawians are still accessing expensive data.
Jolobala further added that up to date she does not understand why Malawi as a country decided to put tax on internet, saying internet is considered as one of the basic needs and right now many people use internet.
Jolobala added the surtax on internet is making the internet to be more expensive therefore Government should remove it.
“Today the Minister of Information made a statement in the house to say that people have started enjoying lower internet cost, but according to the information I have, Government is charging surtax on internet and to my knowledge surtax is charged on materials that Government would not want to see people taking or indulging themselves into like for example cigarettes and beer.
“So I did not expect Government to charge the same surtax on internet taking into consideration of the situation we are in and most of our businesses we depend on internet with the coming of the pandemic and the like, and we would want our students both in Secondary and college to use internet,” said Jolobala.
“So we expect internet to be as cheap as it can be, so I was lobbying the Minister of Information that we should lobby together to the Minister of Finance to remove surtax on internet.”
A 2018 Freedom House report, dubbed ‘Freedom on The Net’ indicates that Malawians pay up to 44 percent in tax in order to access the internet. The tax includes 16.5 percent Value added Tax on internet services