It is clear that the Tonse Alliance administration is a talking government, whose delivery is next to zero. For that matter, this is a day-dreaming government.
Take, for instance, when he presented the National Budget, Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe indicated that changes in the tax bracket were meant to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor. The spirit of the talk was that those getting higher incomes would essentially give to Caesar a higher Pay As You Earn (Paye).
As usual, workers found out they were sold a dummy when they got their pay with the new taxes at the end of this month.
Far from making life easier, the new taxes have ended up with workers giving to Caesar much more than what should ordinarily belong to him!
Not so long ago, the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) indicated in its Basic Needs Basket that the cost of living rose by 5.45 percent to K255 593. To survive, a family of six needs that amount.
Primarily, this is the result of rising food costs, especially maize and cooking oil, among others. The inflation continues to soar, making life for Malawians unbearable.
It is for this fact that experts have warned the government on the progressive tax regimes. The punitive tax measures are recipe for disaster.
It is most worrying that the tax regime for the Malawian worker is prohibitive. While they are already sponged of their pay with prohibitive Paye, they also have high taxes for goods and services.
President Lazarus Chakwera himself indicated when he stepped in the Northern Region for his tours of unhealthy fields that life for Malawians is becoming unbearable. With his jive-talking antics, the President could not offer solutions. Instead, his rule is out to milk Malawians more.
It hurts most to find that the taxes will end up in the pockets of the privileged few. The money collected will be used to sponsor the local as well as global trotting by the leadership; trips where innocent passers-by will be victims of overzealous presidential guard kung-fu antics.
It pains most to see people being sent away from public hospitals due to lack of drugs when they pay hefty taxes. It stings to pay such high taxes when the money is abused left, right and centre.
Yet, the Chakwera regime is very lucky that the opposition in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is happy to be fighting with itself, instead of fighting for Malawians. It is neither democtratic nor progressive for the main opposition to take its antagonism to higher heights. What else can we say of the party that conducts meetings by opposing faction at the same venue a day apart?
May 1 is Labour Day. This is the day workers of the world unite to lose nothing but their chains, as Karl Marx urged. Workers in Malawi right now have the heavy bondage of punitive taxes to break. Shall we think about getting these tax fetters off our feet as we commemorate the day?
That, as it appears, is a tall order as the union movement in the land seems to be in hibernation.n