Itac rebates have the fox guarding the chickens

13 February 2024, Business Day, Paul Matthew

A well-intentioned government intervention is likely to come to naught, with no relief for importers and consumers.

There was some good news for cash-strapped South Africans in “Januworry” as they tried to keep their heads financially above water during what always feels like the longest and most expensive month of the year.

First, the SA Reserve Bank announced it would keep interest rates steady, and acknowledged that inflation was starting to ease. The second was an announcement by the trade, industry & competition department to introduce a temporary rebate on imported boneless and bone-in chicken cuts and chicken offal. The move was intended to keep the price of chicken in check for consumers, especially poor households that are struggling to afford this vital source of protein.

However, after a closer examination of the Itac report and the guidelines, we are concerned that the rebate is a sham that will provide little relief to importers or consumers. This is because the Itac rebate guidelines are complicated and technical, and, in practice,  it is unlikely many rebates will be granted.


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