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Dietitians group disagrees with govt proposal to reduce sugar tax rate

The government is proposing to exempt the first four grams of sugar per one hundred millilitres of sugar-sweetened beverage.

FILE: A soft drink. Picture: Freeimages.com

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s Finance Committee is conducting another round of public hearings into a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The Association for Dietetics says it disagrees with a revised proposal by the government to reduce the amount of sugar that will be taxed under the health promotion levy.

The proposed tax rate is now 11% down from an initial proposal of 20%.

The government is proposing to exempt the first four grams of sugar per 100ml of sugar-sweetened beverage.

Finance Committee Chairperson Yunus Carrim says the health benefits of the levy are undisputed.

“We have to ultimately find a balance between having a sugar beverages levy, recognising that with unemployment being what it is, we have to reduce jobs to a loss and at the same time also create space for African emerging sugar cane farmers.”

But the Association for Dietetics says reducing the tax rate, will reduce the health impact of the levy and wants it to return to 20%.

It also wants to see concentrates, powdered and reconstituted drinks included under the tax.