Malawi Government should not apologise to Minibus Owners Association of Malawi (Moam) for excluding minibuses in the tax concession on imports, Malawi Section of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport president Shadreck Matsimbe has said.
Minister of Finance Dr Ken Lipenga has drawn the wrath of minibus owners who have been demanding an apology for announcing that minibuses with less than 45 seats would not benefit from the tax concession to reduce accidents.
However, Matsimbe, in an interview on Thursday, said apart from reducing road carnage, there was supposed to be a deliberate policy to decongest Malawi roads which he said have been littered with minibuses.
â€œI am not in any way against the idea of extending the concessions to those purchasing new minibuses of a capacity below 45 passengers. Rather, my concern is about increasing the number of vehicles plying the roads in the urban areas with the resultant congestion as such vehicles will obviously not be used elsewhere,â€ he said.
Â â€œWhile prevention of accidents is one of the motivations, the issue is about introducing measures that will, in the long-term, mitigate congestion on the roads. We need to check the numbers before it is too late and look into the future in formulating our policies,â€ he said.
Matsimbe said the removal of taxes on big buses should be a motivation which, he said, would result in reduction in fuel consumption as fewer vehicles would be required to move passengers.
â€œIf anything, we need to have a policy that rather minimises the population of minibuses and other smaller capacity vehicles from the roads. We need to plan for the future so we can avoid the mess created by too many vehicles in built up areas. I am not sure what the vision 2020 provides for in this respect,â€ he said.
Moam has since said it will engage government on its minibus exclusion on the tax relief.