20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Proposed Cattle Tax Raises Stink

Cattle farmers have criticised a Government model by-law which seeks to regulate the sale and marketing of livestock while imposing a 11,625 percent levy on cattle buyers. This comes after the Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development circulated a model by-law for stakeholders to make contributions.

The by-law proposes that all livestock is to be marketed either at the rural district council's auction or with the authority of the district council.

This means everyone who wishes to sell their cattle, even one goat or sheep, and those who sell their goats at Mbudzi or Tynwald, or a cattle owner who wishes to sell one of his cows to his neighbour, will have to seek council authority.

In addition to such authorisation, the buyer will have to pay 11, 625 percent of the price to the council. This will be distributed as follows: council 6 percent, Livestock Development Programme 3 percent, auctioneer 1,5 percent, and Value Added Tax 1,125 percent. The marketing of livestock, particularly cattle, has been decentralised as each RDC could impose its own levies in terms of its own model by-law. The model by-law affords an opportunity to formalise livestock trading. But cattle farmers feel that the levy is punitive in a big way as this would erode their profits. They also want Government to review downwards the cattle levy.

Cattle farmer Mr Simon Madzvova of Mahusekwa said the levy was too high and would result in side-marketing and illegal trading of cattle.

"Such illegal trading will adversely affect prospects of protecting cattle and avoiding spreading of diseases among cattle regions," said Mr Madzvova.

"The levy that existed before of 10 percent of the value of the beast was already negatively affecting them and instead of addressing the problem the authorities are increasing the levy."

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union vice president-commodities Mr Earnest Ndlovu said the new regulations being proposed would upset farmers livelihoods.

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