Alcohol excise tax reduction on the cards

The Ministry of Revenue is looking to reduce the excise tax for spirits with 40 per cent and below percentage of alcohol, but maintain the current tax for those above 40 percent. 

So says the Minister of Revenue Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, who says that local alcohol manufacturers are copping the impact of having a tax of $38.60 for every liter of spirit. 

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“Now we are facing the problem of hotels complaining to us that their guests are complaining they can’t provide them with other spirits because of the law not allowing more than 40 percent spirits, because to mix those cocktails are above 40 percent, so they are complaining to the liquor board,” says Tialavea, who is also chairman of the Liquor Board. 

“So we are looking to increase the excise tax for spirits with 40 and above percentage of alcohol and reduce the excise tax for 40 percent below.

“This is because we need to take care of our tourism industry because otherwise if they can’t get what they ordered here in Samoa, they will go somewhere else.  It’s a hard decision, but we have to face the realities of tourists coming in.” 

He explained the move to reduce tax is also because they had assumed increasing it would reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents, but this was not the case as incidents continue to increase.   

This is why, Tialavea said, a provision of the Alcohol Control Bill 2019 is to have police test for drugs on intoxicated people. 

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