The pessimist in us all waited with baited breath to criticise the Finance Minister and point fingers at the lack of response towards social and economic drivers stifling the growth of South Africa and its future aka our young people. However, the 2010 budget speech by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, presented what seems like a good balance between economic development imperatives and social services. This not only made the pessimist take a backseat as we listened in anticipation, but caught the attention of at least every NGO, NPO and company striving to uplift the country.
Tobacco taxes – increase not enough
Same old, same old, policy. Another opportunity to promote public health and raise government revenues squandered.
Predictably, the tax on cigarettes increased by a meagre R1,24 per pack in today’s budget. In his first Budget, the Finance Minister has obdurately stuck to a policy which keeps tobacco taxes low and so favours the tobacco companies at the expense of public health and government revenues.