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Increase of excise tax on unhealthy products will bring state budget LVL 33.7 million

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUSome politicians of the coalition believe it is worth discussing the initiative of Healthcare Ministry regarding the introduction of excise tax on unhealthy food products. The bill regarding a more rapid increase of excise tax on tobacco, alcohol and gambling, on the other hand, is viewed more sceptically.

The head of the Reform Party, Edmunds Demiters, says the offer to introduce excise tax on unhealthy food products should be discussed, not immediately turned down. He also allowed for the possibility that the introduction of this tax would try to avoid it by manufacturing healthier products.

Speaking about the idea about a more rapid increase of excise tax on tobacco, alcohol and gambling, Demiters said that “we cannot collect the full amount of excise tax because of the illegal market”. This is why the initiative for a more rapid increase would only be viable after the situation improves.

The most sceptically the idea of introducing excise tax on unhealthy products was taken by deputy manager of Unity’s parliamentary faction Edvards Smiltens. He explains that his faction has yet to discuss this initiative. Agriculture Minister Laimdota Straujuma did not support this initiative and added that such a step should first be discussed with industry professionals.

Commenting the initiative to increase excise tax on alcohol and gambling, Smiltens said that this matter should be assessed in the context of all Baltic States: i.e., if Estonia and Lithuania have a lower tax rate, there will be a higher risk of contraband.

It should be added that Healthcare Minister Ingrida Circene had previously explained that by introducing excise tax on some unhealthy food product groups and by notably increasing that for tobacco, alcohol and gambling, state budget revenue will increase by LVL 33.7 million in 2014.

Healthcare ministry has developed a bill with amendments to the Law on Excise Tax. This bill clearly states which food product categories should have their excise tax rates increased. This project has been submitted to the Prime Minister and Finance Ministry for review.

Ref: 102.109.109.8731


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