The Ministry of Trade and Commerce has announced a scrap of Value Added Tax (VAT) on essential foods, a move that was done in consultation with the private sector players in the midst of increased food prices.
The ministry said in a statement this April 19, 2023 that the removal of VAT will be applicable on maize flour, and rice which also comes with a reduced price seal for each of the Irish potatoes on the farm and market.
The statement said that the removal of the VAT follows finding on the market that showed that many traders had randomly increased the above food prices in order to make extra-ordinary profits taking advantage of the economic crisis.
For maize, the prices will be as follows: a kilogram of dry maize at Rwf500 from about Rwf1,000, maize flour at Rwf800 from Rwf1300.
For rice, the price categories are as follows: short rice grains at Rwf820 from Rwf1200, long rice grain at Rwf850 from Rwf1500 and Basmati at Rwf1,455 from over Rwf2000 on the earlier market prices.
For Irish potatoes, which are also Rwanda’s most popular staple food, the prices have been fixed at Rwf460 (Kinigi) from Rwf700; Rwf440 for Kirundo Irish potatoes from Rwf650; the Twihaze type at Rwf430 from Rwf600; and the Peko Irish potatoes at Rwf410 from Rwf550.
Some of the consumers and traders that KT Press spoke to said that the move will bring down the cost of living in many ways following the fact that the government recently reduced fuel prices.
In a related development, Rwanda looks ahead to a reduction of food prices following a trade-focused bilateral relationship revamp with the government of the Republic of Serbia to import cheaper cereals to Rwanda.