MAPUTO– Producers and importers of alcoholic drinks in Mozambique have warned that plans by the Mozambican Tax Authority (AT) to impose fiscal stamps on beer containers will backfire and result in less tax, not more, being collected.
The government made it obligatory in 2016 to affix the revenue stamps on tobacco products and alcoholic drinks. Since then the stamps have been introduced successfully on cigarette packets and on bottles for wines and spirits.
Putting stamps on beer cans and bottles is much more challenging, according to the Association of Drinks Producers and Importers (ABIBA), which warns that, if the measure goes ahead, taxes raised from beer could collapse from the current eight billion meticais (about 132 million US dollars) a year to five billion meticais. That would be an annual loss to the exchequer of more than 49 million USD.
The chairperson for the beers secttion of ABIBA, Neyde Pires, said at Wednesday’s media briefing that sticking fiscal stamps to the cans and bottles will place a heavy technical burden on beer producers. Furthermore, the process of adding fiscal stamps is an additional cost for beer producers, a cost which will be passed on to consumers, who might react by buying less beer. If less beer is sold, the breweries will inevitably lay off some of their workers.
ABIBA is in favour of fiscal stamps on wines and spirits, since this is the sector which used to be dominated by contraband. With the introduction of the fiscal stamp, it has become easy to spot smuggled wines and spirits.
However, the beer consumed in Mozambique is mostly produced inside the country by one company, CDM (Beers of Mozambique). It is estimated that only about five per cent of the beer drunk in Mozambique is contraband. CDM is one of the country’s largest taxpayers, and nobody has ever accused it of tax evasion.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK