Grain Millers disown statement announcing new mealie-meal prices.
Statutory Instrument 247 of 2019 – Customs and Excise (suspension/amendment) Regulations – has since been gazetted to give legal effect to the decision. The government has suspended customs duty and scrapped import permits and licences for grain, maize meal and wheat flour with immediate effect to plug potential food supply gaps and counter the effects of drought experienced in the last agricultural season.
This means individuals and corporates can now import grain products duty-free without the need for a permit as part of measures to cushion the milling industry and ease the burden on consumers.
In a joint statement yesterday, the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development, Industry and Commerce and Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, said the relaxation of import conditions was effective 22 November 2019 and covers a period of six months up to May 2020.
“In order to ensure the continued availability of essential foodstuffs on the market and to counter the effects of the drought that was experienced during the 2018/19 agricultural season, the Government of Zimbabwe has undertaken the following temporary measures, which will be implemented with immediate effect.
“Removal of control of goods import permits for maize grain, maize meal, and wheat flour with immediate effect. The Ministry of Industry will put wheat flour on the Open General Import Licence (OGIL) with immediate effect. “Ministry of Finance and Economic Development through Zimra will suspend all import duties currently applicable on the following products as indicated,” the statement said.
According to the joint statement, raw maize and maize meal, which used to attract 25 per cent duty, have both been exempted. The government further explained that wheat flour in packages of more than 50 000 kgs, which used to attract 20 per cent duty and wheat flour in packings of less than 50kg that attracted 10 per cent duty, are now both exempted.
The government also noted that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) has informed millers and commercial users of grain that following the pronouncements in the 2020 National Budget, the subsidy on grains has been removed with immediate effect.