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Budget speech announces further consultations on sugar tax, welcomed by industry

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's announced in his Budget speech on 22 February 2017 that there would be further consultations on the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages before it is implemented.
Budget speech announces further consultations on sugar tax, welcomed by industry

The Beverage Association of South Africa (BevSA) welcomed the proposal. “Over the past few months we have continued to engage with government and other stakeholders to find a workable solution to the complex challenge of obesity in South Africa,” said BevSA executive director, Mapule Ncanywa. “We believe that through collaboration with all the relevant role players, we can find ways to create a win-win for all South Africans, contribute positively to health outcomes and avoid any job losses.”

Following recent parliamentary hearings on the proposed tax, BevSA has been encouraged by discussions to identify the most effective solution to the obesity challenge and welcomed the opportunity for further consultation to underscore health outcomes.

The industry has repeatedly called for a local dietary study to be conducted to determine the drivers of obesity as well as a wider socio-economic impact study to assess the cost-effectiveness of the tax. As an alternative to the tax, BevSA has proposed three distinct options to achieve results and these are:

1. Reformulating products through lower to zero variants
2. Committed to reducing three calories per day per person for 2016 and in this year five calories per person per day sugar reductions
3. A consumer awareness drive

“We look forward to working with government to finding a solution to this serious and complex challenge that makes sense for all South Africans, while continuing to make an important economic contribution to the South African economy,” concludes Ncanywa.

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