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Treasury considering taxing SA taxpayers to pay for COVID-19 vaccines

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will be delivering his budget speech next month and there are concerns that taxes might be raised at a time when citizens are already on a financial cliff.

Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - National Treasury on Tuesday said that South Africa has to bite the bullet and consider taxing South Africans more to pay for the COVID-19 vaccines.

The contentious tax route is one of the options - the department said that borrowing more money and reprioritising government's budget were also on the cards.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will be delivering his budget speech next month and there are concerns that taxes might be raised at a time when citizens are already on a financial cliff.

National Treasury's Director-General Dondo Mogajane said that it would be a tight rope to walk.

“If we have to tax to ensure we get this money we will do that. All these options are on the table and on 24 February, on Budget Day, we will be announcing what option and it will be detailed enough to indicate where that money came from and how that money interacts with the whole framework.”

Furthermore, National Treasury said that as soon as the first COVID-19 vaccines arrive on home soil, it will pay for them and would raise the funds later on.

At present, government has said that it did not have the money to pay for the vaccines needed to vaccinate two-thirds of the country's population to achieve herd immunity.

Mogajane said that either way, tough decisions lay ahead.

“They’ll have to bite the bullet. We have to do it for the sake of South Africans and for the sake of saving lives. The tax benefit in South Africans is already very high – it’s high for an economy of our size so going that route we obviously have to tread very carefully. We cannot just tax our way out of trouble that will be further detrimental to the economy.”

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