Wet season for boozers

HARARE - Zimbabwean boozers are in for a wet festive season despite sporadic water and power supplies at beer brewer Delta Beverages’ Bulawayo and Harare plants.

In past years, the beverages giant has been stretched to maximum capacity due to high demand.

Delta Beverages director of corporate affairs George Mutendadzamera said beer will be flowing without hassles this Christmas.

“Delta has invested in increasing production capacity. We recently commissioned an $8 million bottling plant in a move to match demand and production, so this festive season beverages are going to be sufficient,” Mutendadzamera said. He blamed the upward revision of excise duty on clear beer for the increase in beer prices at retail outlets.

“The price increases arising from excise duty have been implemented at 80 cents for pints and $1, 55 for quarts although Delta Beverages has absorbed the duty increase on cans and non-refundable bottles,” he said.

Mutendadzamera was quick to point out that the beverage manufacturer would have preferred that the duty remain at current rate of 40 percent or even be reduced to levels in line with regional trends.

“As much as we could have appreciated that excise duty on clear beer remain at current levels or even be reduced, we however understand the pressures on the Finance ministry in drafting the budget to raise additional revenue,” he  said.

In his 2013 budget proposals, Finance minister Tendai Biti announced that the hike in sin taxes was meant to reduce the damage caused by tobacco and alcohol.

According to Biti, proceeds from the taxes are to benefit the education sector through student grants.

Biti proposed to review upwards the rate of excise duty of clear beer from 40 percent to 45 percent as a revenue enhancing measure.

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