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Court rules govt must hike wheat tariff

Aug 18 2016 18:52

Johannesburg - The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the government to increase the tariff on wheat imports by 30%, the country's largest grain producer body said on Thursday, a measure that should have been implemented weeks ago.

South Africa changes the tariff on a regular basis using a variable formula based on world price movements. Industry group Grain SA says the tariff should have been adjusted in late May to R1 591 a tonne, from R1 224, a 30% hike.

When the adjustment is calculated, it typically also takes a few weeks for it to be signed off and implemented, but Grain SA said the government was taking too long and took the case to court.

"The Court instructed Sars (South African Revenue Service) to publish the new tariff in the Government Gazette no later than Wednesday 24 August 2016," Grain SA said in a statement. Publishing the tariff in this manner brings it into effect.

"Trading in the South African wheat market almost came to a halt given all the uncertainties and delays. We need certainty," Grain SA said.

SARS officials were not immediately available for comment.

South African wheat producers say the tariffs are necessary to protect them from highly subsidised foreign competitors.

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grain sa  |  agricultural sector  |  sa economy


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