Mutorwa reverses 5% levy on grain products

12 Mar 2015 08:20am
WINDHOEK, 12 MAR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has reversed the implementation of the five per cent levy to 1.4 per cent on the import of certain grain, grain products, vegetables and fruit.
In a media statement issued on Wednesday, MAWF Minister John Mutorwa noted that the five per cent levy on agricultural products is not advisable under the current prevailing climate conditions in Namibia.
He said the recommendation of the Namibia Agronomic Board (NAB)’s 1.4 per cent levy on grain importation is for the “time being, accepted and approved.”
“Cognizant of the fact that, in view of the imminent looming drought in the country, some food, particularly maize, may have to be imported to complement the local food reserves; and finally, having empathetically considered the obvious fact that: the five per cent levy increase, will most certainly affect the most vulnerable citizens and residents of the country, more adversely,” he stated.
The announcement came after the executive council of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) cautioned that the levy will negatively affect local value-addition in the country.
NAU raised concerns that the five per cent levy on the import of products such as wheat and white maize as well as by-products and processed products thereof would not only influence the agronomic and horticultural sector but also the intensive commodities sector such as milk, pig and chicken commodities that are dependent on the import of especially the processed and by-products for feeding animals.
However, Mutorwa said having carefully considered the main findings and recommendations of the February 2015 drought assessment report, the five per cent levy on the agricultural products might be considered in the future, but only under favourable climate conditions.
He emphasised that he is aware of the fact that, currently, Namibia still produces less than what the nation consumes.
Mutorwa also requested the NAB to consider possible reductions in the price of imported maize.
MAWF announced these levies at the end of last year. Amendment of Government Notice No. 147 of 30 August 2002, relating to imposition of general levies on certain controlled products: Agronomic Industry Act, 1992, was signed on 31 December 2014.
The levies referred to in this schedule must be collected by Agro Marketing and Trade Agency (AMTA) that was appointed as an agent of the Namibia Agronomic Board in terms of General Notice No. 147 of 1 August 2014.
The levy will be used to finance the activities of AMTA, established as a specialised agency of the MAWF to co-ordinate and manage the marketing and trading of agricultural produce in Namibia.