Sat, 27 May 2017 11:09:08 +0000
BY MAILESI BANDA
GOVERNMENT should revise the 10 percent tax being charged on the export of maize because it is a barrier to trade, Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ) executive director Chambuleni Simwinga has advised.
Mr. Simwinga commended Government for allowing the export of maize but appealed to them to consider coming up with a standard rate per tonne on the export as compared to the 10 percent tax.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Nation, Mr Simwinga said the 10 percent charged on the exports of maize was making Zambian maize uncompetitive in the region.
“We are in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture for the lifting of the 10 percent being charged on the export of maize as it is making us uncompetitive with South Africa who have a similar harvest but pay less to export their maize, making their pricing lower,“ he said
He said over 2.8 million tonnes of grain was ready for export in South Africa.
He explained that aside from the 10 percent charge being high, transportation was another challenge the sector faced.
“We are spending a lot of money on the transportation of grain and since we have our market in East Africa this makes the cost even more expensive. To transport a tonne of maize from Zambia to Kenya we spend US$210, making our maize very expensive,“ he said.
He said currently they had engaged the Ministry of Finance to come up with a fixed charge per tonne on the export tax, adding that that would help develop the sector since transport was expensive.
He said the cost of exporting grain had the ability to affect small scale farmers as they would not benefit from their harvest since they will be forced to sell their maize at a reduced price.