Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that a Stellenbosch University's Professor will chair the panel of experts that will review the list of VAT zero-rated items. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA/African News Agancy

Johannesburg - South African Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced that Stellenbosch University's Professor Ingrid Woolard will chair the nine-member independent panel of experts that will review the current list of Value-Added Tax (VAT) zero-rated items.

Woolard is currently dean of Economic and Management Sciences at Stellenbosch University. The other members are: Ayabonga Cawe, Professor Ada Jansen, Dr Thabi Leoka, Dr Neva Makgetla, Lynn Moeng, Cecil Morden, Prenesh Ramphal and Professor Imraan Valodia. 

Last month, Nene made a commitment to appoint an independent panel of experts, under the Davis Tax Committee, and publish terms of reference to review the current list of VAT zero-rated items. The increase in the VAT rate from 14 to 15 percent took effect on 1 April.

National Treasury said that the panel's mandate is to review the current list of VAT-zero rated items and consider the most effective way to mitigate the impact of the increase in the VAT rate on poor and low-income households.

The panel will take public comments, convene hearings, and will engage with different stakeholders from civil society organisations, organised labour and business, and deliver an initial report with recommendations to the Davis Tax Committee and the minister by 30 June 2018.

South Africa's VAT system includes 19 basic food items that are zero-rated, including dried beans, samp, maize meal, mealie rice, vegetables, fruits, milk and rice. 

Treasury said the review will consider expanding the list of basic items that are VAT zero-rated, and consider how specific expenditure programmes can be improved to better target poor and low-income households.

African News Agency/ANA