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Internet service providers want tax holiday in 2023/2024 fiscal plan

By Phillip Pasula

MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-Internet service providers in the country have asked government to consider removing excise tax on the internet and telecommunication services offered to Malawians in the 2023/2024 fiscal plan.

Chief Finance Officer for Telecom Networks Malawi plc (TNM), Peter Kadzitche, made the call at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel during the pre-budget consultation meeting organised by the Ministry of Finance where Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe was present.

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Speaking on behalf of all internet service providers, Kadzitche hinted that if data is to be affordable by Malawian citizens, then government should chop off excise tax on the same.

“Excise tax is actually given to discourage people from using the service. So we are saying if government can take out that tax, we are going to reduce the cost of providing data. The price will go down as well and that means data will be more affordable.

“The biggest challenge we have is that we are a landlocked country and we don’t have ready access to c-cables which carry data and because of that, it’s more expensive to provide data in Malawi as compared to other countries. Government can help on that by having a data strategy for the whole country in providing fibre for everyone because it’s more expensive for the companies to deploy their own fibre from Malawi up to the c-cables,” explained Kadzitche.

Making his presentation on behalf of the Academia, Professor John Kalenga Saka who is Vice Chancellor of Mzuzu University, said there was need for additional resources through the Loans Board so that more Malawians can benefit from this funding.

“There are many resource poor families out of which households you have these individuals that are selected into universities. It is necessary that more beneficiaries obtain this funding. We would like to ask government to increase allocation for the Loans Board so that more youth can benefit,” said Professor Saka.

Speaking to Maravi Post after the meeting, Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said the reaction of participants in Mzuzu was brilliant.

“My observation is that the participants here in Mzuzu dwelt more on policy rather than specifics and I think that was very good because it has given us some guiding parameters as we put together the 2023/24 budget. The attendance and participation was very impressive, sober and at the same time constructive,” observed Gwengwe.

The Finance Minister had similar meetings in Blantyre and Lilongwe before winding up in Mzuzu.

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