High Court Judge, Justice Webster Chinamora has ruled against the collection of Value Added Tax on rice by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
The ruling followed an application by Harare resident Vongai Zimudzi who was represented by prominent Human Rights lawyer Obey Shava.
Shava successfully challenged VAT paid by rice importers at border posts saying it was exempted by the law.
“In context of the dispute between the parties, I observe that section 11(1) of the Value Added Tax act chapter 23:12 allows certain goods and services to be exempt from VAT and such goods and services are set out in the first Schedule, which is contained in Statutory Instrument (SI) 273 of 2003.
“Noteworthy is that SI 9 of 2016 provides for the inclusion in Part 1 of the Schedule, husked rice, prepacked rice of less than 25kg for retail sale, semi milled or wholly milled rice. This means that the same products were exempted for VAT,” ruled Justice Chinamora.
The judgement further ordered Ministry of Finance and ZIMRA to “pay costs of the application jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved.”