Coalition: No VAT option

If Value Added Tax (VAT) is removed on low calorie beverages consumers may be more inclined to utilise those products, which could lead to a reduction of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and obesity.

That is according to director of SM Jaleel Beverages Barbados, Dr Mikaeel Mohammed, who was speaking yesterday during an online press conference hosted by the Barbados Beverage Coalition that addressed the impact of the proposed 20 per cent beverage tax and collaborative approach to dealing with NCDs in Barbados.

In addition, head of the country’s leading soft drink manufacturer is asking Government to pause on the proposed 20 per cent tax, for at least the next month.

“If we wanted people to consume lower calorie beverages, whether with no added sugar juices, flavoured water, sparkling water or whatever it may be, then remove VAT from those products altogether, so it is cheaper and not only from an educational perspective is there a reason, but there is also an economical or financial reason as to why people, behaviours and consumption will change to these types of products,” Mohammed said.

Recently, Government announced a ten per cent increase to the already existing ten per cent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Mohammed said there must be a multi-factorial and multi-sectoral approach to fight NCDs and obesity. (RA)

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