Use Carbon Tax for Intended Purpose – Parliament

Government last year started collecting carbon tax in an effort to combat climate change Government last year started collecting carbon tax in an effort to combat climate change - file photo

The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change says it will be a cheat on Malawians by government if Treasury insists on using carbon tax to increase tax base instead of mitigating climate change effects.

Chairperson for the Committee, Welani Chilenga, says they will demand an explanation from the finance on why government is clinging on the tax for other purposes as committee of supply meets this afternoon.

“It is disappointing that the K1 billion that was collected in the previous budget was used for other things. The most disappointing thing is that the K3 billion which is going to be collected, as per statement of minister of finance, will also be used to increase tax base.

“If the minister does not remit this money, then Malawians were cheated. The K3 billion which is going to be collected should really mitigate the effects of climate change whereby we could see trees being planted, enforcement on charcoal ban, and alternatives of charcoal in urban areas. Those mitigation measures will not be there and where we are going I don’t know,” he said.

Treasury Spokesperson, Williams Banda, says they will keep engaging the ministry of natural resources and climate change on how best to utilize the funds for greater good of the public.

“I wish to bring to your attention a response that was made by the honorable minister [of finance] in his winding up statement where he quoted the budget statement of 2019-2020 budget where major reason for introducing carbon tax was highlighted as to expand revenue base and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“You may wish to note that besides mitigating effects of climate change, government has also a role to ensure that the life standard of the people is taken care of.

“It is on this line of understanding that we will continue engaging the ministry of natural resources and climate change to ensure that Malawians who are affected by climate change are properly taken care of,” he said.

Environmentalist Mathews Malata called for reimbursement of the funds when it was discovered that the K1 billion carbon tax was not used for intended purpose in the previous budget.

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