Free Duty For Groceries
15 May 2023
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By-The Government has released the list of grocery items exempted from import duty.

On Friday, the Government suspended import duty and import value-added tax (VAT) on the following 10 basic grocery items:

Maize meal, rice, milk, flour, salt, cooking oil, petroleum jelly, toothpaste, bath soap and washing powder.

The suspension of the import duty and import VAT shall be valid for six months from 12 May 2023.
The Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development George Guvamatanga has since directed Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) Commissioner General Regina Chinamasa, to “urgently draft the necessary legal instrument and implement the duty suspension with effect from 12 May 2023”. Wrote Guvamatanga:
Furthermore, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is expected to complement the measure through the inclusion of the above goods on the Open General Import Licence.
The move is in line with the measures announced by Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube on Thursday.
Among other things, Ncube said retailers and wholesalers can now keep all the foreign currency they collect from customers.
The announcement came after shops hiked prices of basic food items in response to the rapid weakening of the Zimbabwe dollar against other currencies.
The removal of import duty on products can result in lower prices for consumers and improved access to goods.
However, removing import duty may also have some negative effects such as loss of government revenue, adverse effects on domestic industries, and dependency on foreign producers.
Meanwhile, in a statement on released on Friday, Buy Zimbabwe chairperson Munyaradzi Hwengwere said the Government’s decision to scrap import duty on basic grocery items will leave the local manufacturing industry vulnerable to cheap imports.
Buy Zimbabwe called for an emergency meeting with wholesalers and retailers to map a way forward.