The government should stop tinkering with zero-rating of the VAT system and rather focus its efforts on regulating food prices and increasing wages and social grants, according to Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group founder Julie Smith. She said the food crisis was much bigger than simply tinkering around with zero rating. "Households don’t have enough money to put food on the table, which is leading to a massive health crisis, and we need to look beyond the VAT angle to see how we can make food more affordable," Smith said in response to the release Friday of a report on zero-rating additional items. The report was prepared by a panel of experts led by Stellenbosch University professor Ingrid Woolard. It recommended that white bread, bread flour, cake flour, sanitary products, school uniforms and nappies be zero-rated from VAT in addition to the 19 items already zero-rated. The panel estimated that its recommended items would represent a loss to the fiscus of about ...

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