The SA Canegrowers Association is encouraged that the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee today agreed on the scale of the crisis in the sugar industry.
We are particularly pleased that Minister Rob Davies has been requested by Parliament to consult with the Ministers of Finance and Health on the socio-economic impact of the sugar tax.
However, there is no time to waste. We call on government to place a moratorium on the ill-conceived sugar tax until the true impact of it is known.
What we do know is that, since the implementation of the sugar tax in April 2018, the industry has lost R1.3 billion in revenue in only one season (which runs from 1 April to 31 March).
We calculate that the sugar tax has put up to 10 000 jobs in the canegrowing sector at risk, with no discernible benefits to public health.
Minister Mboweni’s hiking of the sugar tax by 5,2% last week dealt a bitter blow to the industry and those employed by it, and puts the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people – many of whom form the backbone of our rural economy – at serious risk.
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