Retailers have welcomed the SI 125 of 2021 which removed duty on prepacked rice saying the move will save many jobs as well as prevent both the informalization and deindustrialization of the economy.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers President Denford Mutashu, the confirmation of the VAT position for rice shows that Government is committed to establishing a private sector-led economy in line with the ‘open for business’ policy.
“It is also a welcome relief to consumers as rice is 1 of the 17 basic commodities that every household needs. We, however, wish to point out that the effective date of the exemption has led to ambiguity in the application of the law. According to legal advice received and in our understanding of the law, rice was VAT exempt by virtue of SI 26A/2017.
“This interpretation is in accordance with the intention of the Minister of Finance as set out in the press statement from the Ministry of Finance in February 2017. In order to resolve any ambiguity and to put the matter to rest, it is necessary for the Ministry of Finance to issue another SI with an effective date of 16th of February 2017.
“We will continue engaging the Ministry of Finance to address the ambiguity which has been created. We are confident that they will agree to this in the interest of business, and in line with His Excellency’s vision,” he said.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) recently condemned the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA)’s persistence to collect VAT on rice claiming that it was promoting policy inconsistency and threatening the business sector’s contribution to the development of the country’s economy.