Second-hand car dealers cry foul

The Second-hand Car Dealers Association has expressed concern over the government’ s change of tune on implementation of a new system of clearing used motor vehicles. When presenting the mid-year budget statement to Parliament recently, Minister Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda announced that from December 01, 2023 start using Specific Taxes on used…

By Isaac Salima

The Second-hand Car Dealers Association has expressed concern over the government’s change of tune on implementation of a new system of clearing used motor vehicles.

When presenting the mid-year budget statement to Parliament recently, Minister Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda announced that from December 01, 2023 start using Specific Taxes on used motor vehicles after gazetting customs and excise amendment orders in October this year.

It is reported that the government had, among other things, put fixed duty on cars according to size, year of make and type.

The development also meant that car importers would know in advance the amount of duty to pay for the particular motor car.

But early this month, Malawi Revenue Authority announced the revocation of the Specific Taxes and reverted to an old ad valorem tax method where the duty value is determined based on the value of a property.

The development has not gone down well with the car dealers who yesterday expressed their grievances through a press briefing in Blantyre.

The association’s president Themba Mkandawire said the change has inconvenienced them.

“These sudden changes affect us because importation of a car is not a one-day thing. It means those that had imported cars have been greatly inconvenienced because they will not have money to pay for the duty,” Mkandawire said.

In his remarks, the Second-hand Car Dealers Association General Secretary Aubrey Teputepu said they would engage the Minister of Finance to express their grievances.

“We have tried in vain to meet him and other officials. We ask for an opportunity to be heard because our capital is small and the revocation of the specific taxes will hit us hard because most of us will not be able to pay for the duty,” Teputepu said.

Chithyola Banda was not available yesterday to comment on the issue.