Cape Town – Brandhouse, one of South Africa’s leading alcoholic beverage companies, wants National Treasury and Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan to refrain from using the words sin tax when referring to excise duties on alcoholic products.
Gordhan is expected to increase excise taxes in his budget speech in February.
Joe Heshu, public policy manager at Brandhouse, said the group has already met with the treasury.
“We’ve asked that the minister no longer refer to excise duties as sin taxes. Not only does that label cause reputational harm to good, legitimate companies, it also undermines the (tax) contributions that the companies make.”
Heshu said classifying excise duties as sin tax makes a negative statement about the relevant companies.
“We’ve asked treasury to not mention sin taxes again but rather just excise.”
Heshu said while there is no denying that alcohol misuse does occur in South Africa, it is irresponsible to label all alcohol consumption as sin. “Is it a sin to drink one glass of wine at dinner?”
Excise has been referred to as sin tax, mainly by the media, as it is a special tax placed mainly on commodities such as tobacco and alcohol.
Brandhouse is a joint venture between Diageo, the world’s largest spirits maker, Heineken, the third-largest brewer in the world, and Namibia Breweries, that country's biggest brewery.
The group distributes beer products like Heineken, Windhoek and Amstel. Brandhouse also has an 80% share in South Africa's whiskey market.
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