The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it found it “strange” that government “has no problem increasing the general fuel levy by 60 cents over the past two years”.

Yet‚ the civil watchdog said‚ government baulked at “an additional 9 cents on the fuel levy to cover e-tolls” as it “would affect the poor”. Outa’s Wayne Duvenage said the 30 cents-a-litre levy hike – announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan during Wednesday’s Budget Speech – “was predictable during this time of low fuel prices”.

But‚ he added: “We are concerned these high fuel levies (now at 36% of the fuel price)‚ will give rise to over R110-billion in the general fuel levies (general fuel levy and Road Accident Fund)‚ which is over 200% up on this revenue stream of a decade ago. “The taxes applied to motorists and the transport industry will unfortunately be passed on to all citizens and will push up the cost of living.”

Duvenage held out hope that Gordhan will call the South African National Roads Agency Ltd and the Department of Transport to see reason and apply rational thinking in halting the failed e-toll decision”. He also called for more transparency at government entities and said Gordhan should instruct them “to fully grant access to people who are rightfully inquiring about information pertaining to expenditure and tender allocation and if that information is not all there‚ the CEO’s job should be on the line”.

He also said that Wednesday’s speech did not give the sense that corruption was “being handled with conviction”. “We need the removal of those officials who have been responsible for the waste‚ and criminal charges laid where necessary‚ so that a clear message is sent to those who waste and steal our taxes.

“They must fear the potential consequences and thereby change behaviour. In addition‚ we would like to see government claw back on the known lost revenues from people and organisations who have been fraudulently enriched with taxpayers’ money.”

Original source:
TMG Digital
25 February, 2016 10:42
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