December 3, 2021

Lobby group wants government to double South Africa’s sugar tax

A group of financial, medical and public well being students have revealed an open letter to the Nationwide Treasury and South African Income Service (SARS), calling on the teams to double South Africa’s well being promotion levy – generally generally known as the ‘sugar tax’.

In a full-page commercial in BusinessDay, the group stated that rising the tax would assist increase income and combat quickly rising circumstances of diet-related ailments equivalent to kind 2 diabetes in South Africa.

The letter contains signatures from professors on the College of Cape City, Wits College, and Harvard and is supported by foyer group Wholesome Dwelling Alliance (HEALA).

Doubling the present levy will assist cut back sugar consumption, improve income considerably and improve the well being advantages, the students stated.

The levy at the moment provides about 11% to the price of sugary drinks to assist curb the nation’s sugar consumption, which well being consultants say is fuelling an increase in non-communicable ailments, equivalent to diabetes, hypertension and weight problems.

At present, drinks are taxed about 2.21 cents per gram of sugar for something over a 4-gram threshold. The present levy provides about 46 cents to the worth of a median can of unique style Coca-Cola, as an example.

The levy doesn’t apply to pure fruit juices or sweetened dairy merchandise. Inside its first two years, the well being promotion levy has generated R5.4 billion for the government.

HEALA has beforehand referred to as on Treasury to double South Africa’s well being promotion levy as a part of its nationwide finances.

“This would have been enough to finance South Africa’s down payment for Covid-19 vaccines from the Covax facility almost 20 times over despite the health promotion levy’s relatively small contribution to government’s overall budget,” stated the top of the Wholesome Dwelling Alliance (HEALA) Lawrence Mbalati.

“If the National Treasury doubled the health promotion levy now, it could net the government around R2 billion to help fund the fight against Covid-19 in the short term. This estimate is based on current consumption levels and the revenue raised by the levy already,” he stated.

He added that if Treasury doubled the levy and raised R2 billion, that will be sufficient to pay for a number of thousand new nurses and docs, in addition to tens of 1000’s of group healthcare employees primarily based on common wage ranges.

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