Zimbabwe: Angry Govt Punishes Schweppes for Selling Products in U.S.$ - Revokes Duty Waiver On Oranges Imports

US Dollars

GOVERNMENT has moved to revoke duty suspension for Schweppes-owned Beitbridge Juicing Company (BJC) following strict demands for US$ payments for its products despite enjoying free imports of oranges and grapes.

The development comes at a time the government is grappling to contain double standards by companies which are in the habit of demanding a cost free operating environment while reaping the most through exorbitant prices.

On the back of such massive profiteering, trade unions have bemoaned the fact that despite demanding foreign currency when selling goods and services, the same companies are very reluctant to award corresponding salary increases.

A letter seen by NewZimbabwe.com signed by Finance Ministry's permanent George Guvamatanga addressed to the BJC managing director, Mr. C. Msipa revealed that on July 1 2022, Treasury provided a once-off suspension duty facility for the company to import 10,000 metric tonnes of oranges and 5,000 metric tonnes of grape fruits.

This measure was expected to augment local supplies, thereby minimizing supply disruptions as well as guaranteeing affordable prices to the general public.

"Treasury however notes that the pricing of your products is now exclusively in foreign currency, notwithstanding Government's initiative to promote use of the local currency.

"You will be aware that beneficiaries of tax incentives are expected to compliment government's interventions with responsible pricing models with a view to ensuring affordability of goods which is key to achieving the Government's developmental objectives.

"In view of the above, I wish to advise that pending conclusion of investigations on your pricing model, the suspension of duty has been revoked.In this regard , all new imported consignments will with immediate effect be liable to duty at prescribed rates," the letter said in part.

The revoking of the import duty also comes in the wake of some companies moving to demand US$ beginning this week as they argued that their suppliers are pressing for such demands.

Some supermarkets are now selling mazoe in United States Dollars only.

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