Govt closes Asian shops in Lilongwe

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Malawi government on Tuesday closed down four shops belonging to Malawians of Asian origin in the capital, Lilongwe for failing to comply with the competition and fair trading business acts.

Minister of Industry and Trade Mr John Banda personally evoked the licences for maintaining high prices of second hand clothes after government removed exercise duty on the products in the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year.

The tax removal on the second hand clothes and textiles meant that traders should also slash down the prices.

The closed shops include Arax enterprise, Alimike enterprise Nafees Investment and Shatteta enterprise.

The Asian traders were also reportedly manipulating receipts offered to buyers with deferent prices as a mechanism to evade paying taxes to MRA.

Trade and Industry Minister Mr. John Banda strongly condemned the malpractice saying it is against the law.

“Most of the traders have no licences, against the requirement by the law. They offer very high prices for Malawians against what is expected after scrapping off the excirce duty on second hand clothes,” said Mr. Bande.

He said “some of the traders receive more money but write cash sale for small amounts to pretend that they are selling at low prices…that is cheating at its level best. These people are reaping off poor Malawians.”

Proprietor of one of the closed shops Mr Zahid Ali said he has no objections to the government’s decision.

“I have no objections on that and no complaints about it. The shop will be closed until all is resolved. However I would want that the accusation put against me be cleared in a transparent way,” said Ali.

Last week Minister of Trade John Bande in Blantyre and Mzuzu personally also led a team of his officials to inspect the prices where some shops were also closed.

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