Road Transport Operators Association of Malawi (Rtoa) executive director Chrissie Flao says the tendency by some international truck operators to engage in local shunting is threatening the survival of local transporters.
Flao said some transporters upon reaching their intended destinations in Malawi, pick up cargo for delivery to some unscheduled places.
“Foreign transporters are involved in local shunting, a thing that is putting the survival of local transport businesses at risk. We need government to help us in policing foreign trucks delivering consignments further than their intended destinations.
“Some trucks go to places such as Nchalo [in Chikhwawa], Dwangwa [Nkhotakota] and Luchenza [Thyolo], thereby evading paying toll fees. This is done especially by those operators travelling further than Blantyre warehouse,” she said.
Flao also said government must give tax relief to local Malawians wishing to invest in transport sector.
She alleged that some foreign companies involved in hauling fuel are given tax relief of between five to 15 years, but the same treatment is not given to local Malawians.
Commenting on taxes, Flao said there seems to be a repetitive syndrome of paying taxes on tax, value added tax (VAT) rate is still on the high side resulting into manufacturers choosing to use own transport.
“We beg government to consider zero-rated VAT across the board for all transporters. This will help local transporters to grow and will also discourage manufactures to use own transport. Most Malawian transporters who do international transport do not have VAT refunds,” she complained.
“Duty on spare parts is very exorbitant. Government must consider reducing duty on spare parts to be line with that of trucks which is at five percent as opposed to that on spare parts at 25 percent.”
Minister of Transport Francis Kasaila assured Rtoa that government will work to ensure that transporters in Malawi are given a better deal than is the case now.
He said they are organising a meeting with all players involved, including Ministry of Finance, Trade and Industry as well as Reserve Bank of Malawi to solve the challenges the sector is facing.
“We know the problems that the transporters are facing and, as a listening government, we will make sure that we solve them,” assured Kasaila.