Government gives green light for duty-free importation of basics

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Business, Local News | 0 comments

Government gives green light for duty-free importation of basics


Staff Reporter


GOVERNMENT has liberalised the importation of grain at household level as part of a raft of measures aimed at mitigating the effects of the El Nino-induced drought and guaranteeing national food security.


This was revealed by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting where food security was one of the major issues discussed.


The new measures will take effect from July and include duty waivers on the importation of rice, maize, potato seed, cooking oil and genetically modified maize for stockfeed, whose milling and distribution will be strictly supervised.


Cabinet also approved the removal of Value Added Tax on rice and potato seed since there is now more consumption of rice and potatoes in the country, with these products being predominantly imports.


Dr Muswere said Cabinet also considered and adopted the report on the preliminary food security outlook, April 2024-March 2025, presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka.


“Among other issues considered, Cabinet discussed the importance of considering more hectarage for growing rice in view of increased rice consumption by the citizens,” he said.


“Cabinet also emphasised the need to support and promote local wheat production for direct consumption , for a swap with maize in order to meet maize demand for the nation.


“In light of the foregoing, Cabinet has approved the Food Security Outlook Report to March 2025 to facilitate winter cereals production planning and the food security strategy based on the comparative and competitive advantages of wheat this winter.


“That the consumption of 7,5kg per person per month be used immediately for social welfare and be adjusted after October to 8,5kg per person per month, the purchase of local grain at the import parity price of US$390 per tonne in order to mop up excess local grain.


Dr Masuka said the food security outlook is made of four components which are: what is in stock, what is likely to be produced in the current season, what is likely to be produced in winter and what is likely to be imported.


“This is what we deliberated; we said the private sector must continue to import maize for human consumption, we said if they wish to import genetically modified maize they can do so ,but that must be under strict supervision.