South Africans surely kept Honourable Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, under the magnifying glass on 20 February 2019. And, rightfully so – since they had to be on the lookout for certain ‘financial blackouts’ during the maiden #RSABudget2019 speech and announcements. In 2018 the 1% Value Added Tax (VAT) increase was a big blow for South Africans. And, this year, with an election on the way, South Africa is finding itself in the toughest, debt-filled economic situation since 1994.
Apart from fuel levies going up (29 cents a litre for petrol and 30 cents per litre for diesel), affecting the overall value chain for consumers, citizens have to also soon curb their ‘SINful’ habits. The following excess duties on alcohol and tobacco have been announced and will be added from 1 April 2019:
- One can of beer will go up by 12 cents. Note: Unchanged duties on Sorghum beer.
- A 750ml bottle of wine will go up by 22 cents.
- A bottle of sparkling wine (750ml) will go up by 84 cents.
- A bottle of whisky (and other spirits) will go up by a staggering R4.54.
- A pack of cigarettes will go up by R1.14 cents.
- And lastly, a typical cigar will go up by 64 cents.
The above sin-list is hard to smoke-and-swallow since consumers are already cash-strapped as it is. But Potgieter says South Africans should try and continue to manage that which they can ‘control’. In other words – they should fix or keep their own mini-economy going. Here’s how:
- Consumers need to tighten their belts and try high and low to cut costs (like luxuries).
- They should not spend money that they don’t have (for example, using credit cards during impulsive shopping sprees or fancy restaurant dinners and dine-outs).
- Consumers should prioritise paying off debt especially unsecured debt that is currently a big pest for their ‘financial ground’.
South Africa has fallen on dry fiscal times and not even a bit of ‘sin’ will ease consumers’ financial burdens.