Labour unions back call for VAT-free chicken

From the past to the present. Chicken prices are now rising steeply, in South Africa and around the world, because of the impact of the Ukraine war on global prices of feed, fuel and fertiliser.

From the time the conflict started pushing up food prices earlier this year, FairPlay has repeated its call for government to drop the 15% value added tax (VAT) on the chicken portions most consumed by low-income households. It’s a targeted, pro-poor initiative that even has the support of chicken importers.

It also has the support of the trade union federations Cosatu and Saftu, as well as the South African agricultural industry association Agri SA.

Now VAT-free chicken needs the support of the Treasury, which has been silent on the issue while food price inflation adds to the misery of poor households.

“Jobs are under severe threat due to the dumping of cheap subsidised and often poor quality imports from overseas. Government needs to continue to put in place measures to protect these local jobs, this includes the call to exempt locally produced poultry from VAT and to increase tariffs on imports.” – Matthew Parks, Parliamentary Coordinator, Congress of South African Trade Unions.