Redefining Benefits and Beneficiaries of Duty and Tax Waiver on Imports of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Technologies: The Case of Malawi

Author(s): Arnold Juma, Isaac Chitedze

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Abstract: This paper is about the taxation of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies in Malawi. It analyses and expose the reality about the benefits and beneficiaries of customs and excise duty waiver on these technologies. The principal aim for taxation is to raise revenue for the government, local authorities and other similar bodies. Taxes are also used to redistribute wealth whereby higher rates of income tax transfer wealth from the better-off to the state and the latter uses the resources to provide services to everyone. Sometimes, taxes are used to protect local industries from foreign competition. In such cases, the government levies duty on imported goods, which translates into higher prices. As a result of the high prices of the imports, people are forced to buy locally manufactured goods as substitutes. However, this analysis appears to be biased towards the end users of the technologies and completely ignores the suppliers, without whom there would be no solar PV market at all. This paper is therefore aimed at highlighting the shortcomings of this perspective and redefining the benefits and beneficiaries of such exemption.

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