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Fiscal measures take effect


Fiscal policy measures aimed at re-aligning and giving fresh impetus to the stuttering economic recovery, including the hiking of import duty on fuel, take effect today.

As a result of the under performance of revenues in the first six months of the year, Finance minister Tendai Biti was forced to revise the $4 billion 2012 National Budget to $3,4 billion.

Excise duty on diesel and petrol previously levied at 16 and 20 cents per litre respectively, will from today increase to 20 and 25 cents per litre. This measure is expected to raise additional revenue of about $20 million.

This development sparked fears that the cost of goods and services might go up, although Biti allayed the fears.

In his fiscal policy review statement last month, Biti said the increase in excise duty should not translate into higher prices of diesel and petrol in view of the decline in the price of crude oil on the international market.

The minister reviewed the import duty on wheat flour to 20% from 5% in a order to promote growth of the local milling, agro-processing and transport industries.

Registered bakers are, however, expected to continue importing 25% of their wheat flour requirements which translates to 3 000 metric tonnes per month. The cereal is necessary for blending.

In a bid to support energy efficiency across manufacturing, transport and bottling operations, Biti scrapped surtax duty on the new generation of coolers that are more energy efficient, and free of hydro-fluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas.

Biti also ring-fenced duty collections on imported sanitary ware in a move expected to be beneficial to the less privileged.

Following challenges encountered during the implementation of the advance passenger and cargo manifest system at airports which resulted in inconveniences to both airlines and passengers, Biti said government would amend civil aviation laws.

The legislative changes would now require airlines to submit passenger details and cargo manifest within three hours after landing or such further time as the commissioner may allow.

Biti told Parliament last month that government had failed to realise the projected growth forecast for 2012 due to a weaker than expected economic recovery.

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