By Nthakoana Ngatane
MASERU – Chair of the parliament economic and development portfolio committee Mahooana Khati told industry that the International Monetary Fund, IMF, met with the committee and made it clear that the country should impose levies on alcohol and tobacco .
“They are very firm, it’s unfortunate that we are controlled by other countries as Lesotho, they have embarked very firmly on this issue that Lesotho should increase the percentage on the two levies. We were not aware that they are going to talk about it but they raised it and that was their main agenda.” Says Khati.
But finance principal secretary – Nthoateng Lebona says IMF and the World Bank provided technical support only.
“World Bank and IMF gave us support to do analyses, They were merely articulating our position” says Lebona.
Ministry of Finance and Lesotho Revenue Authority want 30% on tobacco and 15% on alcohol, but the committee has recommended 6% on tobacco and 3% on alcohol initially.
The tobacco and alcohol industries want a zero levy.
The committee has adjourned its proceedings until Wednesday 20 October, and mandated the parties to reach a consensus, failing which it will pass its recommendation for debate by the National Assembly.