Par­lia­ment to de­cide on VAT-free chicken

Eyethu Baywatch - - NEWS • IZINDABA - Larry Bent­ley

CHICKEN came out as the clear favourite to be VAT-ex­empted for the sup­port of South Africa’s poor, when stake­hold­ers pre­sented their re­sponses to the Woolard Panel of Ex­pert’s re­port in par­lia­ment.

The over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sented, which in­cluded FairPlay, Cosatu, SA Poul­try As­so­ci­a­tion, Price­wa­ter­house Coop­ers, the In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Jus­tice and the SA Cham­ber of Bank­ing called on MPs to vote for chicken to be added to the VAT-free bas­ket.

FairPlay, which sup­ports jobs and op­poses dump­ing and preda­tory trade prac­tices, has cham­pi­oned the cause of VAT-free chicken.

‘We were heart­ened by the sup­port, be­cause we be­lieve is it es­sen­tial VAT should be re­moved on the chicken por­tions most con­sumed by low­in­come house­holds,’ said FairPlay spokesper­son Lionel Aden­dorf.

Aden­dorf told the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Fi­nance that the move was es­sen­tial for poor peo­ple and af­ford­able for the coun­try.

He said the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of chicken made it an es­sen­tial com­po­nent of a healthy diet, to ad­dress is­sues such as the preva­lence of stunt­ing in South African chil­dren ow­ing to mal­nu­tri­tion.

No de­ci­sion taken

The panel could not reach a con­sen­sus on mak­ing chicken VATfree, de­spite not­ing strong ar­gu­ments in its favour, and has ef­fec­tively left the de­ci­sion to par­lia­ment.

In their sub­mis­sion, FairPlay be­lieves that zero-rat­ing chicken would be a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive mech­a­nism to pro­vide tar­geted re­lief for lower-in­come house­holds.

For these house­holds, ‘chicken is not a lux­ury but a ne­ces­sity’.

‘It is South Africa’s most pop­u­lar meat, it is nu­tri­tious and is the ma­jor pro­tein source for poor peo­ple.’

The or­gan­i­sa­tion said there are out­dated items such as R1-bil­lion worth of pilchards that are be­ing im­ported, with no ben­e­fit to the fis­cus.

FairPlay also urged con­sid­er­a­tion of the wider eco­nomic ben­e­fits of ex­panded chicken pro­duc­tion, which would fol­low re­duced chicken prices.

This could in­clude 11 000 new jobs, R1bn in tax rev­enue and an ad­di­tional R3.7bn to GDP.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.