Economist pleased with tax on high sugar items

high sugar foodsEconomist, McCarthy Marie, has indicated that he is pleased with the announcement made during the presentation of National Budget that there will be a rise in taxes on high sugar foods and drinks.

During the presentation, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said there will be a 10 percent tax increase on foods and drinks with high sugar content.

“I jumped with joy when I heard he put tax on sugar,” Marie told DNO.

According to Marie, for more than three years he has been calling for tax to be raised on sugar.

“It is killing the people and they finally did it…I am very happy,” he stated.

In an article published in 2013 entitled, ‘Tax policy and health,’ Marie laid out his case for the taxing of sugar.

“It is our view that the exemption of sugar from the VAT is an example where well-meaning tax policy leads to unintended negative impacts on health,” he wrote, adding in light of scientific data Government should reverse its tax policy on sugar and begin to tax its consumption.

“Since sugar is consumed in myriad ways including an ever-increasing amounts of sugared beverages of all sorts, the administration might want to start by imposing a special levy on sugared drinks, including the so-called juice drinks,” he wrote further. “The increase in the price of sugar should be accompanied with an aggressive campaign against the consumption of sugar similar to what was undertaken against the use of tobacco.”

In terms of the new tax, Marie believes it should be higher.

“But it’s a start,” he noted.

The 10 percent tax increase will also be placed on cigars, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

The Prime Minister justified this new tax measure by citing the “bad practices” of smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and foods with high sugar content, as major contributors to ill-health.

Skerrit said the revenues collected from the measure will contribute to the production and maintenance of a national “Get Healthy” Campaign, “in which we take the message to our schools, civic and community organisations, churches and NGOs and the public at large.”

The new tax will become effective from September 1st, 2015.

During a recent visit to Dominica, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Etienne, strongly recommended that the powers that be make it more difficult for citizens to acquire unhealthy foods.

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37 Comments

  1. July 30, 2015

    It’s true that if you tax something you tend to get less of it. But it’s not the role of government in a free society to direct people’s lives so long as they’re not harming other people. I’m all for health education, but it’s not like people are mistaking Busta for a health tonic. Let people make their own decisions without interference.

  2. July 29, 2015

    A few years back I saw a documentary on T.V. about the sugar industry or BIG SUGAR.

    Beginning with the plantations where the employees were worked illegal hours for incredibly low wages to the food manufacturing companies that add sugar to products where it is not needed such as naturally sweet fruit drinks, to soda drinks where too much sugar is used, and canned vegetables and fruits as well as processed meats and bakery products where it becomes obvious sugar is used in excess to increase the sales, we soon saw the dishonesty and politics of the industry.

    As a child I was taught sugar could cause tooth decay if I didn’t brush but I didn’t think any more about it.
    But as I learned more about the physical harm done by sugar I said “And we use to think we had a case against tobacco!” What we have learned is that BIG SUGAR has actually taken steps to prevent this knowledge from reaching the public.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

    • July 30, 2015

      BIG SUGAR has actually made an effort to keep certain information from reaching the public.

      So what can be done?

      Education is the key. The public should be informed of the unethical inside workings of the sugar industry, the food companies, and of the danger of excessive sugar consumption.

      BIG SUGAR should be investigated by governments big enough to do it and the information shared with other nations.

      We could begin to cut down on our individual sugar consumption. I am a tea drinker. I use to put a heaping teaspoon of sugar in every cup of tea. I’ve stopped taking sugar in my tea. You have to start somewhere.

      I think the tax is a good thing. They should do it in Canada and use the tax money from sugary products to help pay for our government health insurance.

      Sincerely , Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  3. Francisco Telemaque
    July 29, 2015

    Mark, the only purpose higher taxes on sugar will serve; will be the generation of more revenue into the treasury, Sugar by it self does not cause as much damage in comparisons to the amount of starch consumed in our country.

    The Dashine, Tanya, yellow yams, and all the species of yam on the island are more damaging to human health in Dominica than anything else. I can prove that scientifically, however if I go into it I might be murdered by my foes on DNO. I can tell you I am a chronic diabetic, I do drink sodas occasionally, I consume sugar practically every day, since milk is high in sugar.

    Nevertheless, when I eat two pieces of yellow yam sweet potato plantain or Tanya, that rises my glucose faster than if I use some sugar products. The bottom line is anything we do it should be done in moderation! If you are the Mark, I spoke with Hector in NY a few years ago.

    • Francisco Telemaque
      July 29, 2015

      In any event if we could find a market here for Dominica yellow yam that would be good for the farmers, considering I paid more than four dollars per pound of yellow yam yesterday. So at least the Dominica farm could get about $US1.50 per lb if it is exported. Seventy-five cents U. S per pound wholesale who not be bad!

      And so, I me going to kook me yellow yam, and green fig, and salt cod-fish fu me dinner, me hab de salt-fish soaking overnight fu al de sal cum out oui, me frade de sal go rise me blood pressure oui!

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    • Mc Carthy MARIE
      July 29, 2015

      Now you a take de real ting. Yam and dashed better fuh nyam Dan pizza and demand kin a summing dey. Yam and dashed ha plenty wata an fibre. De bady need fibre fuh yu gut wuk good.
      Yes a mi self Hector breda.

      • Francisco Telemaque
        July 31, 2015

        Boy, its been many years, the last time I saw you was somewhere in 1964, walking towards Point Michele I was down there in New Town running after a little bird name Hilma.

        When you talk with Hector again perhaps you can give him these numbers 323-730-8530 and 951-743-4748, I need to talk with him about Black Sigatoka, he was the first person to draw to my attention that Black Sigatoka was about to destroy the industry in Dominica, he further told me it would destroy bananas wherever they are grown, He was right.

        Have fun Mark, it’s good to be alive, all the guys from our village are gone very few remain, just about all those who immigrated to England are still alive. I spoke with Churchill Harry about three months ago he was visiting from England, to attend the burial of Kessie Joseph.

        Later!

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  4. A. Non E. Mus
    July 29, 2015

    I’m inclined to believe that the only reason Mr. Marie was doing back flips was because he recommended it some time ago and he has got what he asked for. Mr. Marie cannot honestly say that taxing sugary drinks will lead to better health. Governments have been taxing tobacco for as long as we can remember, raising the taxes whenever the opportunity presents itself and people continue smoking. People will continue to drink sodas in the numbers that they currently do, or probably in even higher numbers. This is what the governments know. A tax on soft drinks is a revenue raising move. It’s not a health move. If the government is serious about health, it will introduce measures to force manufacturers to lower the sugar content in the drinks, it will also lower taxes on the healthy foods and drinks so more people can afford them. Unless this happens, I won’t be convinced that there is any interest in having people eat healthier

    • Mc Carthy MARIE
      July 29, 2015

      We no longer manufacture any soft drinks except Quenchy. Practically all soft drinks are imported so we cannot do anything about the sugar content in these drinks as you are suggesting.

      As you will notice in the DNO article about the tax the intention is to use (some?) of the revenue to educate the population about good food choices. Your idea about lowering taxes on healthy foods is indeed a good one and the Government nutritionists should begin to identify these foods to be targeted for tax reductions even while we continuue to raise taxes on bad food.

      • Justkum
        July 30, 2015

        Maybe it would save the gov’t and the opulation alot of time and money if they would identify and ban the importation of certain foods altogether. Rather than wait for them to be imported and then processed and taxed and still make the population sick..too much process for an undesireable result..waste of time and resources if you ask me..

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Francisco Telemaque
        July 31, 2015

        I would strongly support higher taxes, and duties, on imported alcoholic beverages. We have a terrible alcoholic problem in our country. Many life’s are destroyed by alcohol. My experience as a kid growing up is that most of the people who drank such beverages; would not take a drink until the in the cool hours of the day; after four o’clock in the afternoon.

        I went home one time: my father had a little rum shop: to my surprise one morning around 5:00 A. M. someone knocked on the door, I looked out only to see a young guy, I will not say his name but he was an air traffic controller at Melville Hall airport who came to buy his rum. Within minuets I saw a crowed next door at Rocksen rum shop, I was shocked.

        The guy who came to buy from my father invited me to drink with him, I had to tell the man come back later when he returned from work, and I will be his host. I went to Roseau and there I saw professional at their place of business with their glass of whiskey in hand in the…

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      • Francisco Telemaque
        July 31, 2015

        I saw professional at their place of business with their glass of whiskey in hand in the early hours of the day. Something has to be done otherwise we will loose a whole generation of our people to drugs, and alcohol!

        A little over a year ago, when I heard of the condition existing at the Secondary School in Wesley, I became infuriated, and blame my cousin Gloria for not doing anything about the condition even if she was not the minister of education, until one of my younger sisters in New Jersey informed me that most of the damage the building sustained were caused by students going to school inebriated.

        How can this be?

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  5. Jah Bless
    July 29, 2015

    I guess there are no other way of collecting revenues so that is one way. Sad. what about processing our own local juices, reduce prices on healthy foods.

  6. Justkum
    July 29, 2015

    Ok. Instead of just talking about blanket sugary foods and drinks, could we have seen a list of all the items? ’cause any shop owner can increase prices on almost all food and drinks on their shelves come sept.1st.
    I personally am not a fan of increased taxes especially when it comes to a simple personal choice. I don’t smoke or drink because prices are high, but because I want to stay healthy. All these price increases are making Dominica more difficult a place to live and less attractive to foreign investment. It seems like at will prices can skyrocket with not much justification. Get a better handle on things because this will create an avalanche chain reaction of raised prices making it harder and harder for the low income population. Sugar is used in Bread and Cakes, and even in local juices so look out for increased prices there too.

  7. truththe
    July 28, 2015

    Mr. Marie poverty comes with ill health and bad health practices. Alas now we will see malnutrition coming back among the elderly and children. Back and neck , wings the worst parts of the chicken. Elderly with no teeth, no dentures or false teeth. No cane for cane juice. No reduction on tax for peas and beans for protien substitute
    No roads for farmers to grow vegetables and fruits for substitutes.Five more years. God help us.

  8. 2 sense
    July 28, 2015

    If the Government is serious and capable of dealing with this issue, they would not have treated the salisbury and other farmers in the manner that they did. The farmers need tangible and meaningful incentives to increase production to reduce the cost of the healthy foods that we so need. these taxes on these foods will not go as far to tackle this problem, furthermore it should be the nutritionist that should guide us on the different categories of foods that require such interventions. by just picking a few foods that we think isn’t healthy is unrealistic. why not have the ministry of health development a comprehensive list marked with their the required marker according to the nutritional value and take it from there. additionally this should not be limited to sugary food, but the bad oils e.t.c

  9. lead singer
    July 28, 2015

    If you are serious about health then you increase price of chicken and decrease price of fish, so people would buy the cheaper one. But when a pound of fish is $9.00 and a pound of chicken $3.50, which one will the poor mother buy for her children? At witch urchin a portion of fish is $8.00 and a portion of chicken less than $4.00; which one will the poor man buy? So it’s not a buget about health, but a deceptive way to raise taxes on the poor people of Dominica. When you raise tax on what we can afford it’s just a matter of time before you put a tax on our bowel movement

  10. lead singer
    July 28, 2015

    I don’t understand the increased tax on sugary thintgs at all. These guys are just not serious. If they were really concerned about obesity and heart disease, they would not just increase taxes on busta and others but on KFC, which to me is harming us more than anythinpg. Furthermore, they increased tax on certain chicken parts but did nothing to encourage people to eat more fish.

  11. MR Dominica
    July 28, 2015

    Mark jumps for joy because Skeritt raised taxes on sugar . The fact that he, to quote a very wise man”KILLING HIMSELF TRYING TO STAY ALIVE”does not mean people should do the same I thought he was an economist not a DR and according to what he wrote on D N O some times ago I am not suprised and think the idea came from him . Mark next time tell Skeritt to place a 65%TAX on the junk food that is imported and sold in roseau on dasheen , tannia, rice and all the starchie foods ,or mind your own business

  12. July 28, 2015

    When America, sneezes, the world catches a cold. I do not care on whose side of the debate you are, in the End if persons chooses to harm themselves, it’s their perogative. But when it places extra cost on our health services, and the cost related. My God something has to be done, and it should involve all other approaches . Education, ect, ect, I do not have a PhD. Just common scene.

  13. mujahardin
    July 28, 2015

    We must all be concerned about the health of our because it is directly correlated to the productivity of the nation. However, the new taxes on sugar and retail items deemed as unhealthy will ot achieve the objective stated by the PM simply because the tax increases in this case for the reasons stated is too small, and will not affect the demand of the products in question. What will happen is that the government will receive more tax revenue.
    Can anyone tell me if there is a comprehensive plan by government to develop agro processing so that at some point in the future we can be able to replace all or most of the unhealthy imported food with locally produced and processed foods? I am hearing nothing from gov’t about vegetable and citrus production, nothing about the essential and coconut oil industries. We have the potential in DA to develop a viable and lucrative herbal medicine industry. The Leader of the Opposition is right on point as far as dealing with this health issue.

    • The Real Facts - ON
      July 28, 2015

      The increased tax will make them more aware of the dangers of unhealthy drinks. Dominicans have the option to avoid processed foods.
      Today I am more conscious of what I cook and eat. It got to the point that I do not purchase processed foods and canned ones (if I can help it); not in my household.
      Beware of frozen minced meat and sausages which are not processed in Dominica.
      Hot dogs are another one. I heard how they are processed.
      I always love homemade cooking. A few years ago I purchased a household electrical meat grinder. When I feel like making a casserole, meat loaf or hamburgers with minced meat or the recipe calls for it, I purchase beef, chicken and turkey with very little fat, especially beef and mince them. The grinder could also make sausage, of course with minced meat.
      I do think the younger generation and the following ones will be healthier than the older generation. They may also live longer with less ill-health issues.

  14. vegnag
    July 28, 2015

    Taxes on sugar makes one of our primary economist on island jump for joy haha that makes me get weak with laughter; – I mean this is a joke or what? – I mean it takes that little for the economist to jump for joy. If next year salt and sodium base foods that contribute to hypertension and heart problems are taxed I suspect the economist will be through his ceiling! unlike the economist I am indeed sadden by the reactionary and piece meal approach taken to health- PAHO Head said we seating on a volcano and we reacted. I mean where are the strategies and incentives to address life style changes in schools, in family, at restaurants. For years Prince Kalash out of Lucia has been calling for a holistic approach to life styles changes and eating habits and to make more use of our natural foods- no one takes him on or gives support. I guess the taxing and banning of plastics and Styrofoam from circulation in Dominica in the future will rocket the economist to the moon with joy!! ha.

    • Mc Carthy MARIE
      July 28, 2015

      Yes indeed I would go straight to the moon as well as mars at a speed faster than light. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity going faster than the speed of light would take me back in time, hopefully to a time before you were born :-D

    • The Real Facts - ON
      July 28, 2015

      You should be aware that many people could avoid ill-health due to over-consumption of sugar and salt. Some could also live longer. You, too should cut down on them.
      They should also not overeat. Some people eat root vegetables but they do not eat salads as a side dish and drink ample water and milk.
      You should also know, “Too much of one thing is good for nothing.” Eat and drink nutritiously and moderately.

  15. Sams Gutter
    July 28, 2015

    We can make money by highlighting Dominica as a health retreat. We have all the ingredients, clean water, organic food and the the pollution free air needed for healthy living.

    • Francisco Telemaque
      July 29, 2015

      When you say a health retreat are you talking about something similar to a commercial establishment providing facilities devoted to health and fitness. What make you believed that people who live in a more developed country with all such facilities, even in some homes will chose a backward place like Dominica to look for health retreat?

      You all thought when you dubbed the island Nature island that name would have brought so many tourist to the island that there would be no place to walk in the streets. There was a certain Dominica who flee the United States in the early 1980’s to escape jail for his involvement into the sale of drugs.

      He flew himself home in his very own light aircraft, that was his plan, which never got off the ground, it was simply as usual Dominica talk without substance. You should be more concern about the industrialization of the country, and stop day dreaming!

  16. anonymous2
    July 28, 2015

    That means that the cost of bakery goods will also increase.

  17. Jonathan st jean
    July 28, 2015

    The prime minister justified the new tax measure by citing the bad practices of smoking,excessive consumption of alcohol and foods with high sugar content…..these items have been in the island long before Mr Skeritt was prime minister,and they have been there during past government administrations.The reason why consumption of those have increasd to the point where they are now a national problem is the bad governance by this labor administration. When people can’t find jobs,agriculture is dead there has to be more stress and so people indulge more in these things.Poor people can’t afford to eat right because food items have become so expensive that they resort to these habits which are not healthy because they have to stay alive.This tax is a good idea but it should be accompanied by means to reduce the high price of basic,nutritious food items or better yet have them grown in Dominica so fresh wholesome foods are available.Half measures I’m afraid will not work.

    • Civil Servant
      July 29, 2015

      Garcon stop talking bull crap nuh.

    • A. George
      July 29, 2015

      Dude a jelly coconut is $2.00. I have at least 4 per week. sometimes two in a day and every weekend I buy a $10 bottle. we choose what we put in our bodies. Lets start choosing wisely.

    • Francisco Telemaque
      July 29, 2015

      In a sense he is right you know, because the amount of money some of those vehicle owners spend on alcohol and tobacco, and driving drunken is nothing compared to $150.00.

      I do not want anybody to thing I gone back on that Mountain Chicken Crapo mentality Skerrit, but if we are to accomplish significant in our country we have to contribute financially, through taxes, that is the legal way!

      As I said earlier, the last time I visited home I paid I think five dollars for a pint of kubuli beer, the bottle contains 28 cl, of beer containing 4.8% of alcohol, that is strong for beer, any wonder there are so many drunk drivers in the country! There money will be better spent paying the taxes for their betterment.

      Now if Skerrit do not use that money wisely, we shall overthrow him, cause he buying us out at the poles with free food, and money!

      • Francisco Telemaque
        July 29, 2015

        I meant to say I am not back on his side, and I will never give him my support as long as Dominica is without an International Airport, until he openly apologize to the nation for allowing Ralph Gonzalez to make a complete idiot out of him and played him for a fool!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  18. Sams Gutter
    July 28, 2015

    Can we afford the added taxes. That’s what I want to know.

  19. eyes opened
    July 28, 2015

    Wait…so the PAHO Dr. didn’t explain that “sugary” foods are not just those with added sugar but anything on the high-glycemic index? So all your white flour, potatoes, pasta, etc. are part of the same problem. Will taxes be placed on these too?

    Interesting how easy it is to pass new taxes, but new services we must wait 10 years for. We can’t afford all of our bills, but we can afford to add more and more people to the gov’t payroll each year. This is pure stupidity in this place.

    I used to wonder why Dominica was so backward compared to other nations, but I clearly see why.

    • China Man
      July 28, 2015

      So because sugars are present in almost every food, are you suggesting that the government should increase taxes on all these food items? Don’t you think this would be very bad? There is a health problem in Dominica and it needed to be addressed, even though it meant increasing taxes on a selected few. Taxes are a straight forward way of regulating the consumption of any food or the use of any item. Why are you against such a tax? I believe your eyes are wide open but you are wearing a certain color shades.

    • The Real Facts - ON
      July 28, 2015

      Everything in moderation. For instance a slice or two of bread cannot harm you; even one slice.
      You do not have to eat a big plate of potatoes and also pasta, etc. A little of this and that is sufficient. Some people think their stomach has to be full until they cannot eat any more. This is where the problem begins.
      In addition, take a detox, at least once a month or within 6 months. It could be detox tea.
      You have internet services. Make good use of it health-wise. Google health benefits of whatever food and drink you can think of and whatever you like to eat and drink. There is ample health information over the Internet.

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