Lift taxes on sorely needed agricultural machinery

THE Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association (Soppoa) is asking the Finance Ministry to urgently look into the matter of tax duties on farm machinery used for in-field activities on plantations in Sarawak.

The palm oil industry in Sarawak is embarking on a transformation process to reduce the number of foreign workers used in the industry, in line with calls from the Primary Industries and Human Resources Ministries to do so.

Many oil palm estates have decided to deploy more agricultural machinery to take over the work of foreign workers in areas such as FFB (fresh fruit bunches) collection, fertiliser spreading, chemical spraying and other oil palm estate-related works.

Unfortunately, and to the dismay of the palm oil industry here, such agricultural machines were recently subjected to a 10% sales tax plus a 30% import duty for those with an import approved permit from the Customs Department. This, of course, greatly negatively impacts the plantations’ finances.

We request urgent intervention by the Finance Ministry to exempt agricultural machinery from these duties and taxes so that we can work towards fulfilling the nation’s objective of reducing our dependency of foreign workers.

Some of these agricultural machines are only available from other countries. With the current high import duties imposed on these machines, it is counterproductive for companies to buy them at such high cost.

Soppoa is making an SOS call to the various federal ministries to look urgently into this matter and to lift import duties on agricultural machines for in-field use on oil palm estates.



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