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Do not target the businesses, target the users says Edghill on increases in fees for alcoholic beverages

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The Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to amend the act by increasing the fees and penalties for intoxicating liquors almost in all cases by 100 percent, after 25 years of no increases.

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan in the National Assembly today (Friday January 6, 2017) said these fees should not pose any great disturbance or consternation in the House or with the larger population.

The minister alluded to the fact that the tax on “sin goods” seem not to attract much outcry from the wider public.

Opposition Member of Parliament, Juan Edghill pointed to the huge increases in fees for those businesses that sell alcoholic beverages. He deemed it an “anti-business approach.”

Edghill questioned if the Government wants to gain more revenue other that the $3.947 Billion it has already garnered from alcoholic beverages.

He noted that there are some 20 increases which the nation is not aware of, pointing out that the taxes will also affect the wider population. He suggested that Government tax the “sin goods” directly and refrain from the “anti-business approach.”

The Opposition MP said it is clear that the driving force and the thinking was “let’s have more money”

Edghill said the Opposition would have been more prepared to speak to a Bill that speaks to providing leadership awareness and commitment regarding the use and impact of alcohol in society, one that speaks to drunk driving, one that speaks to pricing policies that deal with alcohol or one that deals with the monitoring of those who abuse alcohol.

This imposition the MP believes would simply drive up the cost of business, not only the big businesses but the small ones where ordinary people would have to pay the additional cost, even those who do not consume alcohol. He called on Government to do more analysis regarding these increases and not just look for “an easy way to raise money,” but how this would impact the wider society.

The Finance Minister believes that the fees must stay in line with administrative cost. “We are not going to wait 25 more ways to increase the costs”, they will be under continuous review Minister Jordan noted.

The Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the National Assembly.

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