New Zimbabwe.com

Ncube suspends duty on wine and cheese, ignores industrial imports

By Alois Vinga


FINANCE Minister, Mthuli Ncube Thursday suspended duty on raw cheese, milk powder and wine among other goods while turning a blind eye on broader raw material imports currently choking Zimbabwean industry.

Presenting the 2020 national budget, Ncube announced the suspension of duty on raw cheese on ring-fenced quantities of up to 25 000kgs per month, for a period of 12 months beginning 1 January, 2020.

“I also propose to extend and increase the excise duty free ring-fenced import quota from 175 000 litres to 200 000 litres per annum for a period of two years beginning 1 January 2020. Local production of raw milk remains insufficient to meet the requirements of the dairy milk processors, hence I propose to extend duty suspension on milk powder for the year 2020,” he said.

The initiatives come at a time when local industry players are struggling to access foreign currency for use in raw materials importation.

As a result, a section of the sector’s players had expressed concerns towards considerable duty suspensions during the pre-budget period.

However few industries that enjoyed duty relaxations include the paint manufacturing industry which was granted a duty suspension for 150 000 litres per month of illuminating power kerosene which is a key ingredient in the manufacture of alkyd resins.

Small scale furniture manufacturers were granted a duty refund facility which is claimable on a quarterly basis, with effect from 1st January, 2020.

The pharmaceutical industry also received a refund for additional raw materials to be imported under rebate of duty while the clothing manufacturers received a rebate extension for a further two years in a bid to lower the cost of production.

Luggage-ware manufacturers’ received an extension of rebate duty facility for a period of two years alongside cross border luxury.

Safari operators received a suspension of duty facility to car hire companies for a period of 12 months.

“I further propose to extend the suspension of duty facility for the importation of 100 buses for 12 months beginning 1 January, 2019, in order to afford an opportunity to bus operators to replenish their fleet,” Ncube said.