The government’s proposal to impose a hefty sugar tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) is totally unpalatable to the country’s multibillionrand soft drink industry and will result in large-scale job losses.
This emerged at a briefing by national and regional soft drink industry leaders at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber in Port Elizabeth yesterday.
Three Eastern Cape-based beverage companies signalled their unity with the soft drinks industry nationally and vowed to fight the imposition of any additional tax on their products.
At the centre of the furore is Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s announcement in February that the government was proposing a tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages, with its stated aim being to combat obesity.
On July 8, the Treasury published a policy paper on a proposed 20% sugar tax on the applicable beverages which, if approved, will be implemented from April. .
Yesterday’s briefing revealed that industry players and other interested parties would be forwarding submissions on the proposed tax to the government on Monday.
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