Sugar Tax Won’t Directly Go into Health Budget

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 31, 2019 – Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Wednesday a tax on sugar in soft drinks under new rates proposed by the government would not necessarily mean higher revenues for the Health Ministry.

This tax has no specific purpose, so its revenue is general and serves to pay the general needs from the state budget, he told reporters when asked if the Health Ministry could count on higher revenues due to higher sugar rates.

Marić said the government was not imposing a new tax but correcting an existing one. The sugar ratio in soft drinks, under the government’s proposal, will not be taxed by 40 kuna per 100 litres but depending on the percentage of sugar in those drinks, he added.

As for possibly higher excises on tobacco and alcohol, Marić said excises would go up at the end of the year and that he assumed producers would calculate them into prices. “We are not proposing a dramatic jump that would disrupt market relations.”

Health Minister Milan Kujundžić said higher prices for cigarettes and soft drinks were absolutely justified, after criticism that such measures in some other countries have yielded no results.

“Demographically, ethically and medically speaking, it’s absolutely justified to raise prices, significantly, so that our children don’t enter the world of vice,” he told reporters.

Financially speaking, Kujundžić said it should be analysed and that he therefore understood Marić’s caution.

Cigarettes take 15,000 lives a year and from an ethical and human aspect, nothing is more important than saving those lives, while demographically speaking, 15,000 more people annually would mean a lot, he added.

Asked what that money would be spent on, Kujundžić said it was not important and that saving people’s health and lives was.

More tax news can be found in the Business section.


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