The bill providing for the implementation of a tax on sugary beverages — the health promotion levy — was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday. The adoption of the measure, which will be introduced in April 2018, came after extensive public hearings by Parliament’s finance and health committees as well as negotiations within the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on an implementation plan. An interdepartmental committee consisting of the Treasury and the departments of economic development‚ agriculture‚ trade and industry and labour also worked on a mitigation strategy to limit the effects of the levy on sugary beverages. A task team will monitor the implementation of the health promotion levy to assess its effect on job losses. It will also look at a range of government programmes to provide support to the industry. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said there could be no trade-offs between health and economic growth. He stressed that a national effort was ...

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