President of the Road Transporters Association (RTOA) Abdul Lambat says the future of road transport industry in Malawi is uncertain due to high investment costs which includes investment capital, taxes and duties.
In his statement, during the meeting with Minister of Transport Francis Kasaila in Lilongwe, Lambat said transport is a catalyst for vibrant economic activity in any country and Malawi is no exception.
Said Lambat: “Malawi being landlocked depends on surface transport.
“It is difficult to attain full potential of surface transport because of high investment costs, as well as high cost of equipment mainly due to the fact that Malawi does not have viable alternatives to access the sea adequately. High Interest rates now hovering at 37 to 43 percent and the weakness of the currency are also other factors hitting us hard.”
According to Lambat government must intervene by proposing better or reasonable interest rates specifically on loans which are to do with investment capital and also negotiate for reasonable repayment period if possible.
On taxes Lambat said there seems to be a repetitive syndrome of paying taxes on tax and the VAT rate is still on the high side resulting into manufacturers choosing to use own transport.
According to executive director of RTOA Chrissie Flao the minister assured them that government will work tirelessly to make sure that transporters in Malawi are given a better deal than is the case now and this will be down by organising a meeting with all the stakeholders involved including Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry as well as Reserve Bank of Malawi so that together solutions to the plight of transporters in Malawi may be found.
“We are very happy with the response from the Minister because this is the essence of us meeting him,” said Flao.
On the issue of taxes and duties the minister promised to consult with the relevant stakeholders.