ZIMBABWE – The Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) of Zimbabwe unveiled that it has made submissions to government for the removal of 15% value added tax (VAT) imposed on canola and sunflower imports.

According to a report by the Herald, the competition body urged that it was essential for the government to temporarily remove 15% on these exports as the industry embarks on efforts to boost local production of the oilseeds.

This comes as edible oil manufacturers in the country including Pure Oil Industries Limited and Willowton Zimbabwe have been pushing for the removal of VAT to cushion operations.

“The commission established that quantities for canola and sunflower which Zimbabwe imported during the period 2013-2017 are significant compared to crude soyabean oil imported over the same period.

The commission was of the view that this could be attributed to VAT being charged on canola and sunflower crude oils. The companies requested that canola and sunflower crude oils should be VAT zero-rated through SI 193 of 2003.

The commission found that in as much as soyabean crude oil VAT zero rating was under taken as a social policy, there is need to zero-rate VAT payments of canola and sunflower, whilst oil expressers and farmers are working towards boosting production of oilseeds in the country,” said CTC.

Government interventions to boost local production last year hit stumbling block after the initiative encountered challenges in mobilising adequate resources to plant over 100 000 hectares due to administrative challenges.

Cooking oil producers in the country are also struggling with about US$100 million external payments debts, as foreign currency shortages in the country continue affect their operations.

Zimbabwe requires an estimated at 240 000 tonnes of soya, against current production of around 60 000 tonnes and a total of US$156 million yearly in to produce two million litres of cooking oil.

According to Zimbabwe Oil Expressers Association, processors require about 350 000 tonnes of oil seed per year to have their factories run at full capacity.

The oil expressers’ association is also seeking US$210 million in the market to finance soya bean production in the 2019/2020 farming season in a bid to assist the country to cut the import bill.

Over the last two years government has been spending an average of US$20 million per month in the importation of soya for the manufacture of cooking oil, reports The Chronicle.