A storm in a Vodka cup

Apparently, Forbes.com is well read on the island because before 8am, yesterday, my friends were already buzzing about a Forbes article quoting the recent increases on excise duties. The article made it sound like a MONUMENTAL price increase, because of the way the MINFEC wrote the Wijzigingen invoerrechten en accijnzen, “sin taxes,” decree.

The increase was quoted as a raise from AWG 400 to AWG 433 per hectoliter, which means on 100 litters. Hello?! Awg 33 raise, spread over 133 bottles of 0.75Lt.

Really? Is that what the fuss is all about?! If a bottle of wine costs AWG 20, the tax on that bottle was Awg 3, and now it’s Awg 3.25, a twenty-five cents increase. Not a big deal.

Ok, I admit, I also did not understand that at first.

But now I know, that if you buy a very expensive French wine, or some bottled dish water the tax remains the same, based on volume not value.

The more significant increases were levied on bum wines, on Night Train and Thunderbird, those flavored fortified wines, which are favored by chollers, because they were inexpensive and loaded with alcohol.

The street people will now pay more for their poison!

Why did you pick the chollers as your target market for the increase??

I spoke to some of the wine and spirit purveyors, they are all mad, because much of the decree makes no sense.

The policy is discriminatory against St Nicolas residents, those who favor stout beer, especially Guinness. Yes, Guinness is now more expensive. And it is mostly consumed in St Nicolas.

The purveyor thought the MINFEC did not know the difference between Lager, amber colored beer and Stout, dark colored beer, because the decree singled out stout and left all other beers out.

Also, those who roll their own cigarettes will now pay more. For the value sensitive consumers, Shag is now more expensive. Phillip Morris may win more customers over to the already-rolled varieties.

I also heard that our accijnzen are higher than Curacao

AND that the IMF advised AGAINST the increase in ‘sin taxes.’ The IMF recommended tax hikes for plastic imports, and oil fuel, BUT MOSTLY recommended the institution of VAT, as a better fix for our ailing economy.

One purveyor explained to me that the increase took the bottle of Absolut Vodka, for example, from Awg 23 to Awg 33, which means Awg 2 per shot. (17 shots per bottle)

I asked a hotelier will he be raising his prices. Yes, he said, modestly.

Another said: There may be abuses following the change in the law, it happened with the BBO increase too, a couple of cents make NO difference for us, we will have ZERO increase, we want to give our customers quality!


Share on:

February 01, 2019
Rona Coster