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Poultry producer Astral wants chicken to be VAT free

| Economic factors

Chicken should be exempt from value-added tax (VAT), poultry producer Astral said in a media release on Thursday. The increase in VAT to 15% in April from the 14% it had been for the past 25 years would hurt consumers who relied on chicken for their main source of protein, Astral argued.

Under the existing laws, there are 19 basic food items that escape VAT. With the exception of tinned pilchards and sardines, all of the VAT-exempt food items are vegetarian. They include brown bread, eggs and milk.

"We would like to stress that we are not looking for tinned fish to be removed from the basket of basic foodstuffs, but we believe that a review of this basket is long overdue and that chicken should be included," Astral CEO Chris Schutte said.

"Chicken is the cheapest source of meat protein in SA and now forms a large part of the basic diet of the South African population, with consumption at close to 40kg per person per year. 

"Not being listed as a basic foodstuff zero-rated by Treasury is questionable, especially in light of the fact that the consumption of chicken far outstrips that of any other meat as a source of dietary protein." 

Source: BDpro

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