Liquor and cigarette producers might feel more sinned against than sinning, after the shock excise announcements in this year’s budget speech. While sin taxes have been a perennial feature in the budget for decades, there were hopes that the serious disruptions to tobacco and, especially, liquor operations during the Covid-19 lockdown might mean a respite in the excise duty regime.

Before the budget, beer giant SA Breweries (SAB) called for no increase in the excise duty on alcohol, while the SA Liquor Brand Owners Association, which represents the industry outside SAB, called for a below-inflation excise duty hike...

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