Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi. Photo: Contributed

Beer, wine, whisky, gin and cigarettes are among those items which will cost more, Finance Minister Ipumbu Shiimi announced when he tabled the national budget allocations on Wednesday.

The Minister added that although the current national ban on the sale of alcohol products due to COVID19 saves consumers from ‘sin’ taxes, the prices of alcohol and tobacco products will increase.

According to Shiimi, a 750 ml bottle of sparkling wine will cost an extra 61 cents, another 750 ml bottle of spirits, including whisky, gin and vodka will be N$2.89 higher, a 340 can of beer or cider rise with 8 cents, while a 750 ml bottle of wine will cost 14 cents extra.

Another increase is of a packet of 20 cigarettes which will be 74 cents extra, a 25 gram of piped tobacco with an increase of 40 cents and of a 23 gram cigar which will be N$6.73 extra respectively. This, he added, is accordance with the SACU Agreement which is effective from 27 February 2020.

In his 2020/2021 national budget, Shiimi allocated 49.5 percent of purse to the social sector, which according to him, reflects the quantum and speed for availing resources to the health sector to shore up a national responsiveness to COVID19.

He also maintained that this allocation will help the education sector to cope with the ‘new normal’.

From this allocation, the Ministry of Health and Social Services is allocated N$7.95 billion, which is equivalent to 12 percent of the total non-interest expenditure. The Minister is of the opinion that this is to allow the health sector to roll-out measures for combating COVID19.

The ministry of Basic Education Arts and Culture got N$14 billion, which is 22 percent, while the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation receives N$3.3 billion which is 5.1 percent of the total allocation.

“Such resources outlay reflects the government’s commitment to invest in the youth and human capital development as the central driver for sustainable development, employability and poverty reduction over time,” Shiimi explained.

“The ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare is allocated N$5.3 billion which is 8.2 percent of the total allocation, mainly to cater for social nets, which forms the first line of defense against poverty for the vulnerable members of society, especially during this time of COVID-19,” he said.

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