Finance minister Malusi Gigaba must have been tempted to increase the corporate tax rate. It has remained at 28% since 2013, when the more neo-liberal Pravin Gordhan regime reduced it from 34.5%. But companies can be a lot more mobile than people and are certainly more prepared to shop around for a more attractive environment. It would be a major blow if there were an outflow of big corporates along the lines of the 1999 exodus of Old Mutual, Anglo American, Billiton, Dimension Data and SAB. According to the Budget Review, falling corporate income tax rates in advanced and emerging countries have already affected SA’s global competitiveness. This trend limits the room to increase or even maintain the tax rates on business. Corporate income tax already contributes more to GDP than in virtually every sizeable economy except Chile. "There was definitely a danger that we would price ourselves out of the market," says Andrew Wellsted, a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. Life was already ...

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