Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has said he did not like the continuous ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco, but because he lost the debate in Cabinet he had “to toe the line”.
Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) Edward Kieswetter on Thursday told the Select and Standing Committees on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations and Standing Committee on Public Accounts, that the country has lost over R1.5 billion in revenue due to the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco.
The ban was implemented as per the lockdown regulations dictated by the Disaster Management Act.
On Wednesday, the government backtracked on a decision to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes, with Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announcing that the ban would be extended during level 4 of the lockdown.
Mboweni told the committees on Thursday that Cabinet decisions are binding on all ministers “even if you don’t like it”.
The finance minister said he did not like the continuous ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco but had to toe the line after he lost the debate in Cabinet.
The amounts that were under-recovered were listed as follows:
- Beer: R664 million
- Spirits: R400 million
- Wine: R300 million
- Tobacco: R300 million
This is a grand total of R1,6 billion.
Meanwhile, Mboweni told the committees that Treasury expects a 32% drop in the country’s overall revenue collection under the current circumstances.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu. Additional reporting, Kaunda Selisho)