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Surtax duty to be scrapped

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Industry and Commerce minister, Welshman Ncube yesterday said the 25% surtax duty introduced at the beginning of the year on selected goods including motor vehicles older than five years from date of manufacture will be scrapped soon.

Surtax is an additional tax which is added to something which is already taxed.

There has been an outcry in particular from individuals, small-scale businesses and informal sector traders since January this year when the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) started levying the duty.

In a notice at the beginning of the year, Zimra said: Surtax of 25% of the value for duty purposes shall be charged and paid in respect of the importation into Zimbabwe.

Items that are attracting surtax duty include whole chickens, frozen cuts and offals, milk and cream, yoghurt, fermented milk, buttermilk, cheese, birds eggs, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and shallots among other food items.

Ncube told delegates attending the Independent Dialogue in Harare, surtax duty was introduced without the consent of his ministry, which is directly responsible for making trade-related recommendations.

The introduction of surtax is an example of the extent the inclusive government has been dysfunctional, said Ncube.

The Finance ministry should introduce measures that are trade-related upon recommendations but in this instance the Minister of Finance (Tendai Biti) went on to introduce surtax on goods that were not included on a document forwarded by industry.

He said following the introduction of surtax, the industry took up the matter with the Ministry of Finance after an outcry from stakeholders.

Ncube said Biti had the right to introduce surtax for revenue generation purposes but this was not the case.

As late as Tuesday, Biti said he did not know where that came from. Biti said he will revoke it in the next few weeks.

There is no rational to introduce surtax on goods that are not adequately produced locally.

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