The sector code replaces the previous AgriBEE sector code and binds all companies within the sector.
Agribusinesses’ BBEEE rating will henceforth be calculated in terms of the amended scorecard. This is an extremely important regulatory instrument and planning by agribusinesses will have to be adapted to fit into the amended scorecard.
After years of debate at the AgriBEE Charter Council, the amended code was agreed upon. What followed was an initial publication of the draft scorecard in November 2015 and after a long lapse the final sector code was published on the 8th of December 2017.
The Bill seeks to amendment the Agricultural Product Standards Act to provide for the assignment of certain audit and inspection functions to separate entities and for the imposition of an inspection fee.
Agribusinesses that export agricultural products may become subject to product standard audits by assignees. The fees will also have an impact as the state moves towards a total recovery of costs in the event that a product standard audit is required.
The Bill, originally published for public comment back in 2014, has been submitted to Parliament and will be scrutinised by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The Bill amends a number of tax provisions including a new income tax bracket of 45% for those earning R1.5 million or more per annum, an increase in dividend withholding tax from 15 to 20%, but most importantly introduces a health promotion levy on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Agribusinesses operating in the sugar, sugar processing or beverage manufacturing industries will be exposed to an additional, unique tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
After a series of consultations at Nedlac, the National Assembly and the NCOP, the Bill was finally passed by both houses of Parliament and currently awaits the President’s signature for implementation.
The Bill seeks to raise the national drinking age to 21, place restrictions on the advertising of liquor and impute liability for several contraventions to the whole value chain.
The Bill poses a risk to agribusinesses in the wine and liquor industries as it seeks to impute strict liability for several contraventions on the whole value chain and place restrictions on advertising.
This is a sector-specific piece of legislation that is being handled by the Agbiz wine desk at Nedlac.
The draft Bill seeks to amend the Competition Act by expanding the powers of the Competition to conduct market inquiries when investigating an alleged contravention and expand the concept of ‘abuse of a dominant position’ to include the instance whereby dominant players in any industry use their influence to hinder the development of smaller, emerging businesses in the sector.
The latter aspect is specifically aimed at promoting transformation by promoting market access for black-owned SMMEs.
Effect on agribusiness: Agribusinesses operating in highly concentrated markets will need to take cognisance of the provisions of this Bill and consider supplying inputs and comments to the draft.
The Bill was published for public comments on the 1st of December 2017.
The Bill seeks to amendment the National Credit Act by introducing a one-off ‘debt intervention’ remedy for consumers under a certain threshold, makes provision for ad hoc interventions in the case of natural disasters and expands the powers of the NCR and Tribunal to investigate and suspend reckless credit agreements.
Agribusinesses who provide their clients with a credit facility will be affected by the proposed amendments as they will be obligated to report suspicions of reckless credit provided by other credit providers. The potential for ad hoc interventions during natural disasters could also have a great impact if specific interventions are announced by Government during times of drought for example.
Unlike the usual process where a Bill is sent to Parliament by a Government Department, the Portfolio Committee initiated the Bill out of their own accord and published it for public comments. It remains to be seem if the Bill will be sent to Nedlac or not.
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