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Border agro officers under microscope

Dora Siliya.

MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has warned of stern action against some agricultural officers at Chirundu and Nakonde borders who are illegally issuing import permits on finished oil products despite the ban.

And Government says there is need to curb the importation of crude oil in smaller quantities for purposes of proper monitoring of illegally-imported oil products.
Speaking when she met Edible Oil Association of Zambia officials at her office yesterday, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said Government is committed to protecting the local oil market from unscrupulous dealers.
“In the last three months, we have not issued any import permits on finished oil products. The position of the ministry is that we are not allowing finished oil products in the country,” she said.
She said Government will only issue import permits to the right people for purposes of meeting the local demand.
Ms Siliya said the ministry will engage the Ministry of Finance to table the issue of the 16 percent value added tax (VAT) on oil products.
Earlier, Edible Oil Association of Zambia representative Dharmesh Patel said the local oil market is still facing challenges despite the increase in the processing capacity of soya beans.
He said over the last five years, the production of soya beans has grown from 70,000 to 300,000 tonnes.
“The imported oil products that have flooded our local market are greatly affecting the pricing of locally produced oil despite the positive growth we have continued to record over the years.  Imported oil products are putting a strain on our market,” Mr Patel said.
He urged Government to remove VAT on oil to promote competitiveness in the southern region.

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