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‘Sugar tax’ is adopted by Treasury without amendment

The National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) select committee on finance has adopted the bill which includes a provision for the health promotion levy — or sugar tax — without amendment. 

There were concerns both within Treasury and the Healthy Living Alliance (Heala) that the passage of the Rates and Monetary Amounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Amendment Bill through the NCOP might encounter obstacles. However, the bill has already been adopted by National Assembly.

The health promotion levy, previously known as the tax on sugary beverages, is due to come into effect in April 2018. It provides for a levy of 2.1c/g of sugar in excess of 4g/100ml.

In a recent media release, Heala co-ordinator Tracey Marawana expressed concern that the select committee had decided to hold public hearings without making a public call for submissions.

Priceless SA, union federation Cosatu, Tiger Brands and the Beverage Association of SA were among those that made submissions during the public hearings.

Said Marawana: “Heala virtually had to force its way onto the committee’s agenda to argue the case for the tax, which is SA’s first national policy measure to tackle the obesity epidemic that is costing this country dearly in lives lost, massive healthcare costs and lost productivity.”