Still drinking despite tax
THE TAX ON sweet drinks has not lessened consumption.
This coming from Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler who says while he hasn’t seen the most recent figures, the news he has received shows there was no drop in the purchasing of such sweet beverages.
“I haven’t seen the most recent figures, but I believe that we should have those available very shortly in terms of the first quarter of implementation results. What we have seen though in the production figures is that there has not been a decline in consumption,” Sinckler said yesterday.
Sinckler said he didn’t necessarily expect this change would happen immediately as sweetened beverages were a “love thing that we have here in Barbados” and as a result, people would not be willing to step away from it so easily.
In addition to this, he explained, the revenue gained from the tax would not really be that significant, but it was designed to do two additional things.
“We wanted to raise awareness about the fact that we’re having serious problems with Non-Communicable Diseases in Barbados particularly diabetes and the issue of obesity and so on,” he said.
The minister said one of the other aims was to engage in a conversation with the public about the ways in which they could find alternatives to heavily sweetened beverages and also look for innovative ways to reduce the amount of sugar in the items they consumed.
“Suppose we never get what we expected to get in terms of the revenue target, but we get people to step back a little bit and re-examine what they’re doing in relation to the consumption and the over consumption of sugars, it would help us in the medium to long run,” he explained.
He said this longer term outlook would benefit the government as it means fewer people would be afflicted by the NCDs, they would not have to go to medical institutions and as a result, government would spend less money. (AD)