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Call for government to reduce cost of chicken by cutting VAT and other taxes

Nomazima Nkosi Senior reporter
Informal Traders Alliance are calling on the government to remove tariff taxes and VAT on chicken products.
Informal Traders Alliance are calling on the government to remove tariff taxes and VAT on chicken products.
Image: Picture: 123RF/ANDOR BUJDOSO

The SA Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) is calling on the government to remove tariff taxes and VAT on chicken products.

Saita, which represents more than 2m informal and micro businesses across SA, made this call on Tuesday, saying that it would provide relief for both informal traders and consumers from low-income households as prices of this important food source continued to escalate.

Saita president Rosheda Muller said South Africans were struggling financially, adding that the cost of living seemed to be rising to unsustainable levels.

She said wages were not increasing in the same direction as expenses.

"Every single day we are seeing that another cost is going up – petrol, electricity, transport, and most importantly food. 

"Chicken is perhaps the most important part of our diet, and often the only meat that communities can afford.  For this reason, government would do well to consider removing both VAT and all other taxes that come in the form of tariffs, to help its people survive," Muller said.

Chicken prices increased by 11% between March 2021 and March 2022, on the back of a steady 10% annual increase over the past 10 years.

Muller said the most common products sold by informal traders and spaza shops were fruit and vegetables, chicken and eggs, dairy products, chips, sweets, cold drinks, and tobacco products.  

"What happens when a person can no longer afford a product is that they trade down, or just stop eating it. The problem is that the price of all nutrition-rich products eaten in poorer communities is going up. This includes the price of eggs and chicken gizzards up by 15%, chicken feet by 10%, liver 32%, beef liver 30%, beef, wors and chicken pieces 11%, polony 21%, fish 7% and canned pilchards 9%.

"When food prices increase to these levels, people go hungry and they don’t get the nutrient-rich foods that they need to stay healthy.  If government can help bring down the price of chicken taxes and levies, it will have a profound impact on people’s ability to afford this most important food category, and that will ensure that communities, primarily those in low-income areas, are able to put a plate of nutritional food on the family table at night," Muller said.

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