One or two donations. That’s how much public kitchens in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) received on average after the abolition of value-added tax (VAT) on donated food.
”I announced to the people that the food trucks would come, but after that I became sad,” says Miroslav Subasic, president of the Association of Citizens “Mosaic of Friendship”, which runs the “Obrok Ljubavi” (Meal of Love) soup kitchen in Banja Luka.
The law, which enabled BiH companies to exempt the food they donate to public kitchens from tax in the amount of 17%, was adopted three months ago in the state parliament.
However, as they say in the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) BiH, “the results of the donations are modest”.
Soup kitchens in BiH, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) data for 2022, feed about 18 thousand people.
That number is growing day by day, by an average of 10 to 20 new families, and even more, according to representatives of soup kitchens.
Why is food not donated?
The Association of Employers of the Federation of BiH (FBiH) does not know the reason why the number of donations decreased after the law on the abolition of VAT on food entered into force.
Adnan Smailbegovic, president of the FBiH Employers’ Association, says that traders and producers must first familiarize themselves with this law in order for it to really come to life in practice and that this is one of the reasons for the reduced number of donations.
He points out that the law suits both producers and traders, but also end users.
According to the data of the Foundation “Mozaik” from Sarajevo, one of the initiators of the changes in the law, food worth about 126 million BAM (about 65 million euros) is destroyed annually in BiH, Slobodna Evropa writes.