Policy group SAAPA SA has called on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to significantly increase the excise tax on alcohol when he outlines the annual Budget.
The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa (SAAPA SA) says Treasury needs to hike the excise tax on alcohol to discourage excessive consumption and raise funds for public health promotion.
Excise tax is a special duty imposed on items that can cause harm to people, such as alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and fuel.
It’s typically increased every year.
Dr. Sue Goldstein, a SAAPA SA board member, says the government and citizens need to stop referring to the excise tax as “sin tax”.
Dr. Goldstein argues that this tax should be called a health tax because it is used as a budgetary tool to promote health and combat alcohol abuse.
She has co-authored an opinion piece for Maverick Citizen explaining why Mboweni’s Budget should increase the excise tax on booze.
Dr. Goldstein tells CapeTalk that the health tax on alcohol can only be truly effective if it is implemented in conjunction with other government controls and interventions..
It’s not actually a sin tax, it’s a health tax, and I think that people need to start thinking about it in different ways.Dr. Sue Goldstein, Board member – Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance
It doesn’t go up substantially. If you look at the relative increase of the alcohol tax, for example, it’s remained pretty static over the last 20 years. It’s gone up slightly but it actually hasn’t kept pace with inflation.Dr. Sue Goldstein, Board member – Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance
The point about the tax is that these commodities – alcohol, tobacco, and sugar-sweetened beverages – are not only unnecessary in our lives, but they are harmful too. They bring harm to the population and they bring harm to the fiscus. They are costing us as a country, a lot of money.Dr. Sue Goldstein, Board member – Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance
The point about the tax is that we’re trying to claw back a little bit to improve people’s health and also to get some money back into the fiscus.Dr. Sue Goldstein, Board member – Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance