TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
followed by governing rules, with comments requested and considered and final versions drafted — which must include the official implementation date — and published by the commissioner of SARS.
After August 2017, which is the approximate publishing date of the final governing rules, affected entities will need time to prepare their businesses for all compliance requirements and this could supposedly take place until the end of 2017.
There are a number of basic aspects that affected entities will presumably have to prepare for or get in place before they may legally import and/or manufacture an excisable product and which, in our experience, often take considerable time finalise. These aspects include:
Preparation of premises/buildings in terms of specific physical warehouse requirements;
Arrangements for surety with a financial institution;
Preparation of supporting documents for licensing (importer, exporter and warehouse) applications to SARS;
Development or adaptation of enterprise resource management systems to cater for proper recording of excisable product movement, acquittal and levy liability in terms of specific excise accounting prescriptions (including warehouse registers); and
Customs and excise related training and education of designated personnel.
Meanwhile, from early 2018 onwards, SARS will have to consider actual licensing applications from importers and local manufacturers of sugar-sweetened beverages.
In our experience, a warehouse licensing application takes on average four months (often up to six months) for SARS to finalise. to
Concerns are growing globally regarding obesity caused by an overconsumption of sugar, with a Treasury statement in July stating that obesity is a major risk factor in developing noncommunicable diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers.
Noncommunicable diseases are seen as the leading causes of mortality globally, resulting in more deaths than all other causes combined; the world’s low- and middle-income populations are the most affected.
It is believed taxes on foods high in sugar are potentially a cost-effective strategy to address diet-related diseases. Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Mexico, Mauritius and Norway have all levied taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. Other countries, such the UK, Thailand and Australia, have announced their intention to introduce such taxes as part of a package of measures to help deal with the excessive intake of added sugars.
However, this is a major initiative with myriad layers, and more realistic timelines and collection rules will be needed.
Taxes on foods high in sugar are potentially a cost-effective strategy to address diet-related diseases