For a government minister to introduce import tariff rebates to solve a problem that did not exist was “irrational” and “astonishing”, FairPlay founder Francois Baird said in a radio interview with Moneyweb.
Baird said trade and industry minister Ebrahim Patel seemed determined to inflict a crisis on the South African poultry industry, which had suffered huge losses because of power cuts, high input costs, bird flu culls and the government’s refusal to compensate farmers for those culls.
Instead of helping poultry farmers. Minister Patel was punishing them. There’s no rationality behind this move,” Baird said. “It’s quite astonishing”.
The rebates would threaten small-scale farmers in particular and inflict more hardship in the rural areas where poultry production was concentrated.
On the other hand, chicken importers would become “fatter and richer” because of the discounts.
Baird said that if the government really wanted lower chicken prices, it would remove the 15% value added tax from local chicken, and particularly those portions preferred by lower-income households.