Malawiâ€™s minister of Finance, Dr. Ken Lipenga, is expected to present the 2012/13 budget in Parliament today (Friday). Our Staff Reporter BRENDA TWEA solicited views of people in Blantyre on their expectations.
We pay taxes at Songwe Border and as we are coming we meet more Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) officials who make us pay even more. The taxes are just too high and if we are to gain profits in our businesses, we have to overcharge. We buy these items at reasonable prices in Tanzania or South Afica, for example, but we overcharge to cover for the taxes we pay. The taxes need to be slashed because if our customers are overcharged, they can not afford to buy from us and eventually our business suffers.
Our market fees are going to be raised from July 1; we were are currently paying K50, but the fees will be raised to K80. All essential items such as maize are currently selling at high prices and we do not know how much they will become December. These prices need to go down.
Taxes need to be reduced because we, in small and medium enterprises, are suffering. We pay more to government and yet we donâ€™t get business. Those who buy from us are still getting little from their salaries because they too are being taxed heavily. I am a butcher and I have customers who used to buy, for instance, 10 kilogrammes of meat, but these days they only buy half a kilogramme. Our businesses are suffering.
Government needs to find ways of making foreign currency available in the country because forex shortages are bringing our businesses down. We get forex from the black market at higher rates and we end up charging our customers more. Even the taxes are very high and sometimes we are forced to leave the items that we imported at the borders simply because we cannot afford to pay what they charge us. As such, our businesses are going down because we are not making enough profits.