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New taxes to address health issues

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 04/06/2020

Government is planning to introduce a number of tax changes to help address health issues in the country which is expected to come into effect on July 1st.

Under this initiative, there are changes to the tax on cigarettes, specific food products, and vehicles.

The Ministry of Revenue & Customs CEO – Kelemete Vahe says this increase in the tax is aimed at discouraging the consumption of cigarettes as it a threat to the health of the people.

This sees the tax on imported cigarettes increased from 600 pa’anga per kilogram to 750 pa’anga and increasing tax on locally produced cigarettes from 500 to 580 pa’anga per kilo. The tax on Tongan tobacco however remains at 200 pa’anga per kilo.

In regard to food products, Vahe clarified that fatty meats such as mutton flaps are not allowed to be imported as this has been proven a contributing factor behind NCD cases in Tonga.

Excise tax on vehicles will also be decreased with a ban on vehicles older than 15 years being imported.

The ministry also announced an extension of the deferral of tax on imported food products and hygiene supplies due to COVID-19 from the end of this month until December 31st.

© Radio and Television Tonga News