Finance Ministry Scraps VAT on Assistive Technologies: A Victory for Disability Rights

By Staff Reporter

Disability advocacy group Signs of Hope Trust has applauded the Ministry of Finance for eliminating Value Added Tax (VAT) on Assistive Technologies

The amendment, outlined in the Value Added Tax (General) (Amendment) Regulations, 2024 (No.67), gazetted on 09 February 2024, comes as a welcome relief for individuals who rely on Assistive Devices to navigate daily life. The move recognizes the essential nature of these devices in promoting independence and active participation in society.

In a statement, Signs of Hope highlighted the significance of this decision in aligning with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Zimbabwe in 2013, which recognizes access to assistive devices as a fundamental human right.

“Assistive Devices are not mere luxury items or optional accessories; they are essential tools that enable individuals to attain independence and actively participate in society,”  said Signs of Hope Trust in their statement.

Despite this recognition, barriers such as limited awareness, procurement challenges, inadequate policy frameworks, and insufficient funding have hindered access to Assistive Technologies for many individuals in need.

The removal of VAT on these devices is a crucial step towards dismantling these barriers and ensuring equal access for all.

“By removing VAT on Assistive Technologies, the Ministry has demonstrated its commitment to inclusivity and to achieving the goals outlined in Vision 2030,” the advocacy group said

The group emphasized the importance of this decision in fostering a more inclusive and equitable society where no one is left behind.

In addition to advocating for improved access to Assistive Technology, Signs of Hope Trust has undertaken a study on the accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by persons with disabilities. This study aims to provide valuable data and insights to stakeholders, furthering efforts towards inclusivity in all facets of life.

Looking ahead, Signs of Hope Trust urges consumer protection bodies to ensure strict adherence to regulations governing the cost of Assistive Devices. It is vital that prices remain fair and accessible to all individuals with disabilities, preventing exploitation and ensuring widespread access.

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