The government has been very progressive as far as setting up physical and intellectual structures as far as the issue of agriculture is concerned. Farming with precision is one of the topical issues as far as getting back the glory of the bread basket of Africa to Zimbabwe.
In previous articles, the writer has explained attempts being made to ensure accountability as far as the beneficiaries of the land reform program. The government has come up with an annual reviewing of the farming activities of the farmers which must be reported by February every year. Interestingly farmers are also now supposed to employ a farm manager at the farm which is a clear human resource capital disruptive engagement by the government. This article will however want to focus on the import Duty and V.A.T exemption implication on agriculture equipment which has been introduced by Government through ZIMRA.
The classification provides that farming equipment were included but not limited to tractors, combine harvesters, manure spreaders among others can be imported from nearby countries free of any custom duties and value added tax. In simpler terms the cost of a tractor in SA, though subject to transportation cost, will be the landing price in Zimbabwe. The writer has observed that the farming equipment locally was now being sold more at nearly more than 100% mark up after being imported from nearby countries like South Africa. However, to benefit from the tax exemption , one has to be tax registered with a valid tax clearance certificate and make use of registered clearing agent.
The benefit of this tax exemption cannot be over emphasized as far as farming with precision and mechanization is concerned. Further the tax compliance requirement is also an attempt to allow inclusion of the previously untaxed group of people and is also an additional benefit for those who have been religiously paying taxes. Farmers are therefore encouraged to participate in this process and leverage the benefits of taxation. It's important to note that should importer not have a valid tax clearance will levy 10% withholding tax on the value of the items imported.
In conclusion, the relaxation of import tax should be viewed as a progressive step in the continuous improvement of the activities in the agriculture space.
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