The health promotion levy (HPL) on the sugar content of sweetened beverages will be announced by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba in his budget speech for the 2018/2019 financial year.
This was recently confirmed to Farmer’s Weeklyby the South African Sugar Association (SASA).
The move means that sugar will join alcoholic beverages and tobacco products in having a ‘sin tax’ levied on it.
SASA’s executive director, Trix Trikam, said that the HPL would be implemented on 1 April. “According to the Rates and Monetary Amounts Bill, the tax rate is 2,1c/g of sugar content that exceeds 4g/100 ml [of sugar-sweetened beverages]. The first 4g/100ml are free,” Trikam said.
The SA government has repeatedly claimed that the sugar content of sugar-sweetened beverages is largely responsible for the high levels of obesity and associated non-communicable diseases in the country’s population. It therefore hopes that the HPL will discourage or reduce consumption of these beverages.
SASA has remained vehemently opposed to the HPL and its goals. “SASA has never supported the implementation of the tax, on the basis that there is no evidence that targeting one food group will impact a nation’s obesity problem. Insufficient consideration has been given to the full impact of the imposition of the tax, and the significant negative unintended industrial, socio-economic and agricultural consequences,” Trikam said.
Source: Farmers Weekly