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SA economy loses R1.5 billion due to alcohol, cigarette sale ban - SARS

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter confirmed that to Parliament's finance portfolio committee on Thursday.

FILE: Edward Kieswetter. Picture: Business Pulse International YouTube screengrab.

CAPE TOWN - The nation's economy has lost R1.5 billion in revenue due to the ban on alcohol and cigarette sales.

SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter confirmed that to Parliament's finance portfolio committee on Thursday.

“In terms of beer sales, we’ve under-recovered R664 million month to date, in terms of wine we’ve under-recovered almost R300 million, spirits just over R400 million and cigarettes just over R300 million. So year to date, our under recovery from these activities is R1.5 billion and we’re just through the first month.”

Alcohol sales were restricted ahead of the lockdown and banned altogether under level 5 and level four.

Cigarette sales were also banned under level 5 lockdown and while the president promised smokers would be able to buy cigarettes with the move to level four on Friday, government on Wednesday night announced that it has changed its mind.

Kieswetter said they were concerned that the ban on sales of such products would drive criminal activity.

“The problem with the illicit sale of cigarettes, given the fact that we cannot claim as a country that we’re on top of that yet, during times like these when the legal sale of these products are not permitted, it encourages the trade of in these products in the illicit economy.”