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VAT exemption on rice retailers appeal

VAT exemption on rice retailers appeal


Retailers have appealed to the government to exempt rice from the Value Added Tax (VAT) charging amid concerns that the grain is now a staple for most families in urban areas and boarding schools.

The appeal comes at a time when the government has earlier VAT exempted maize meal,sugar, cooking oil, flour, and bread to ensure the availability and optimal pricing of basic foods.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Dr Denford Mutashu said the retailers have engaged the authorities on the issue and expects swift action from the authorities.

“Statutory Instrument 15 of 2024, effective February 9, 2024, has a similar effect on basic foods, with the exception of rice, which is not included in the exemption list. Given that rice is a staple food in many households and boarding schools, we intend to engage the government to have it reinstated on the exemption list.

“This is particularly crucial in light of the expected El Nino-induced drought and to ensure regional parity, as rice is exempt in the region,”Dr Mutashu said.

He said the VAT exemption will reduce rice prices which have gone up.

“We are now approaching the government regarding the exemption of VAT on rice,” Dr Mutashu added.

Retailers will closely monitor the situation and maintain ongoing communication with local manufacturers and should local pricing exceed import parity, they will swiftly engage the government to address this disparity.

The engagements have helped to reduce prices of bread and other basic commodities.

“We can confirm that prices of bread, maize meal, and other commodities have stabilized and are in line with import parity.

“The reintroduction of duty on basic commodities, effective February 1, 2024, was another temporary measure by the government aimed at stabilizing prices of basic commodities. We do not anticipate any price increases as local manufacturers have sufficient capacity,” Dr Mutashu said.

He said the reintroduction of duty on basic commodities, effective February 1, 2024, was another temporary measure by the government aimed at stabilising prices of basic commodities.

The CZR president believes the policies implemented are fair and will ensure price stability.

Dr Mutashu implored President Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government’s efforts in ensuring that basic commodities are affordable to all, with pricing equivalent to or better than that of regional countries.

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