Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) says its members across the country have complied with Government’s directive to stop levying the 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on basic commodities.
Treasury suspended the implementation of Statutory Instrument 20 of 2017 and gazetted a new Statutory Instrument last week exempting selected basic goods from the new tax.
In withdrawing the new tax, the Government acknowledged the need for further consultation following a public outcry after shops hiked prices, thereby inducing a strain on disposable incomes.
The affected products included beef, chicken and fish as well as rice, potatoes, margarine and mahewu.
CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said most retailers in the country have since complied and reduced prices.
“All products have gone down to their previous level and we’re quite happy with the response we got from retailers around the country,” said Mr Mutashu.
He said over the weekend his organisation conducted a survey on retailers and observed that almost all the prices of affected goods had gone down.
“During the weekend we conducted a survey to try and find out whether retailers have complied with the directive and I’m quite happy with the meat processors as they have gone back to their normal pricing. The price of fish and rice cereals has also gone back to normal,” said the CZR president.
Mr Mutashu said the adjustment in pricing took long to be effected by retailers as some maintained a wait and see attitude in the absence of a supporting legislation.
He also said the withdrawal of SI 20 of 2017 would lure back customers and restore confidence in the retail sector.
“Customers will be able to spend without any doubt this time around and their buying power has been restored. This is a good initiative because all the retailers around the country will try by all means to retain their customers,” said Mr Mutashu.
“There’ll be a lot of competition among retailers and this is quite healthy for the economy. And with the current good rains around the country, definitely we’re destined for a good harvest and good supply of maize.”
Meanwhile, the Government plans to establish a Zimbabwe Export Council (ZIMEC) as a non-incorporated body to co-ordinate and spearhead the country’s national export drive so as to increase earnings.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya unveiled the plan in the 2017 monetary policy statement released last week where he said the proposed entity will function in close liaison with export promotion associations and bodies such as ZimTrade.
“Establishment of an Export Council is not a new concept in Zimbabwe. It was first mooted in 1991 by Government through the Ministry of Industry and Commerce at the inception of ZimTrade but was never established,” said the RBZ Governor.
“Given the current thrust of an export led growth strategy, the formation of ZIMEC is critical for co-ordinating and championing export growth and diversification for the survival of the national economy.
“Its objectives will be to lay down policy guidelines for developing and promoting exports and to advise Government on matters concerned with the exporting environment.”
It is expected that the new entity will drive the country’s export growth as well as further the value addition/beneficiation agenda.