Monday 2022-09-26

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2% OF NATIONAL TAX REVENUE FROM ECONOMIC ACTIVITY LINKED TO BEER

By Slindzelwe Nxumalo | 2022-09-26

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo has disclosed that two per cent of national tax revenue collected comes from economic activity linked to beer.


The minister says there is urgency for governments to improve their partnerships and collaboration with the industry in general to positively support economic development.
The minister said this at a side meeting during the ongoing 77th United Nations General Assembly yesterday.


He stated that the beer industry in particular needed to leverage on the call by governments to rise to the occasion and ensure they work collectively for the betterment of countries’ development and sustainability.


The minister said he was aware of the last World Breweries Alliance’s (WBA) key findings from a study by Oxford Economics, assessing the economic impact of the country’s beer industry to GDP, jobs, and taxes.


Khumalo said from the statistics, beer does seem to be an inherently formidable engine of economic activity and development. “In my country, we were impressed to learn that the beer sector contributed 1.2 per cent of Eswatini’s national GDP in 2019, one in every 91 jobs in Eswatini is linked to the economic activity of beer, which is more than 3 200 jobs, translating to over 25 000 livelihoods,” he said.


 “Growth of the beer sector should help soften the economic challenges facing our countries,” the minister said. He added that increased volume translates to more jobs and tax revenue for governments and positive value from partnerships as beer companies help the governments, especially on harm reduction.


Khumalo mentioned that one of the biggest issues that government faced was reducing alcohol harm, which it was believed was a common issue and  very important issue for any government.


Consumption


“In the past, we have taken various measures to curb the harm from alcohol consumption, but we do need the industry to play an active role in this regard,” said Khumalo.


The minister stated that they were also equally elated that the industry in Eswatini was taking the issue of harmful consumption seriously and they were going into a partnership with a local entity, Eswatini Beverages Limited (EBL) with regards to road safety, which was a programme where they believe that a E263 735 (US$15 000) investment to build infrastructure (bollards) that protects pedestrians, by physically separating them from vehicles, has been funded by the global ABI Foundation.


“Like many governments in Africa, we in Eswatini face some difficulties in implementing these changes in practice but we believe there is an opportunity for continuous improvement if we work in partnership with the beer industry and other stakeholders,” he said.


Khumalo stated that alongside the industry’s economic initiatives, there was recognisable growth of the beer industry which must always be coupled with a commitment to ensuring products were marketed and consumed responsibly.


The minister also revealed that the country had also worked on another initiative with regards to safeguarding water as part of its business growth planning.


“Earlier this year, they launched a water project that provides clean water to the community benefitting 640 people from 77 households and we look forward to more partnerships, not just with EBL, but other players in the beer industry in Eswatini,” he said.

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