A boost for the poor

Bame Piet

No more VAT to be charged on private medical services

For too many years, seeking help from a private health facility has been a privilege reserved for the rich.

In an effort to change this, government will cut-out VAT from all medical bills come April and the start of the 2023-2024 financial year.

Effectively, it means going to a private doctor will cost you 14 percent less than it used too.

As well as protecting people’s pockets, the Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame is confident the move will help reduce the crippling back-log often experienced at government institutions as, theoretically, more people will be able to afford private medical facilities.

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“If you have the same service in a public facility, VAT is exempted, but when you go to a private facility then you have to pay VAT. We believe that exempting VAT for these will help us even reduce a burden for government so that we will see more people going to private facilities,” declared Serame, as she announced measures put in place to reduce after effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the citizens.

This will be added to a growing list of exempted items that include: cooking gas, fertilizers, pesticides, cooking oil, petrol, and several food items that include maize cobs, sugar and Setswana beans.

VAT Exemption will also be applied on domestic passenger transport by road or rail, condoms, donations, cash grants made by or received from the state.

Since 2011, agricultural implements such as ploughs, harrows, disc harrow, manure spreaders, fertilizer distributors, rotavators, rippers, cutter bars for tractor mounting, hat-making machinery, toot or tuber harvesting machinery, forage harvestor, tractors have also been exempted from VAT.

The VAT amendment bill of 2023, designed to cushion citizens, especially of low income groups, will facilitate affordability and accessibility of basic needs, encourage healthy eating (fruits and vegetables) and encourage local production of certain commodities, such as condoms and farming implements.

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The controversial transfer duty involving land transfers will also be amended to remove the compulsory valuation report before transfer as well as to allow foreigners to transfer land at a cheaper rate.

Among others, the amended Transfer Duty Bill of 2023 will exempt all new land allocations whether tribal or state land, remove the requirement to produce Valuation certificates for transactions/persons exempted from transfer duty, introduce alternative ways for valuations for tribal land such as using Council Valuations or appoint competent persons with discretion looking at the location, use, development etc.

“All exempted transactions to no longer go through BURS; reduce the transfer duty rate for non-citizens from 30 percent to 10 percent for property of P2million value, 15 percent for anything above P2million,” the Minister said during a press briefing.

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