26/09/2014 15:48 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Vietnam to increase tax on tobacco, beer, spirits

Hanoi, September 26 (VNA) - Vietnamese lawmakers have agreed to raise the special consumption tax (SCT) imposed on tobacco, beer and spirits, as proposed by the Government, from 2016, with a view to curbing consumption of those items that are harmful to health.

At the National Assembly Standing Committee’s meeting on September 25, Chairman of the Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs Phung Quoc Hien proposed a 70 percent tax on tobacco from January 1, 2016 and a 75 percent tax from January 1, 2018. The current level is 65 percent.

Beer, which is levied with 50 percent, will be taxed with 55 percent from January 1, 2016, and 60 percent from January 1, 2017. The tax will be increased by another 5 percent in 2018, he added.

The SCT on liquor will increase to 65 percent in the beginning of 2016.

In addition, the NA Committee members proposed to assess the feasibility of collecting SCT from liquor household producers directly. It also pointed to the need to intensify efforts to eradicate smuggling, counterfeit products and low quality alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol consumption is not only damaging to individuals’ health, but causes a number of social problems, including violence, social disturbances and traffic accidents. Vietnam is the third largest per-capita consumer of beer in Asia behind China and Japan. Last year, the country consumed 3 billion liters.

In Vietnam, approximately 15 million people are smokers, with millions of others, including children, being forced to breathe second-hand smoke. Cigarettes killed 40,000 people in 2008, and the Ministry of Health expects the number to rise to 50,000 by 2023.

In 2013, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving the national strategy on tobacco harm control and prevention to 2020, which sets out a target of reducing smoking among young people to 18 percent by 2020 from 26 percent at present. The strategy also targets reducing the male smoking rate to 39 percent from 47.4 percent while lowering the female rate to 1.4 percent.