The government of Malawi has removed duty on imported maize flour from South Africa as a measure to ease food shortages, as over 1.8 million people in the country face hunger.
The country’s Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister, Salim Bagus, told local media that the removed tax on maize flour import will help Malawians to easily access the commodity, which is the staple food in the country, at an affordable price. According to the minister, the Malawi Revenue Authority collects 10 percent tax on the imported maize flour and by removing the tax, the Malawi government hopes the maize flour price will also go down.
Currently due to the scarcity of the grain, vendors are selling it at almost double the government-recommended prices. In 2019, the government announced a total financial requirement of 51.8 million U.S. dollars for the implementation of the food aid program up to March 2020. But as of November 25, 2019, 10.7 million U.S. dollars had been sourced, leaving a gap of more than 40 million U.S. dollars.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s report released last month projected that 1,879,391 people will face hunger during the 2019/20 lean season, up from 1,062,674 people in May 2019.