RIGA, August 24 (Itar-Tass) - Latvia’s largest food manufacturers have risen in revolt against the Health Ministry’s idea to introduce excise taxes on foods it has blacklisted as unhealthy. The Latvian Federation of Food Industry Enterprises addressed Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis with an angry message on Friday to demand explanations.
“We would like to see estimates showing how this proposal may affect the food industry, the economy in general, the budget’s tax revenues and the people’s buying power. That the Health Ministry is trying to address the problem of financial shortages by raising the existing taxes and introducing new ones, staying utterly unaware of the effects of such actions, is impermissible,” the message runs.
Latvia’s largest food companies are certain that such a measure would harm not only manufacturers, but the consumers as well. They have demanded an early meeting with the prime minister and Health Minister Ingrida Circene in order to discuss this controversial initiative.
A short while ago the Health Ministry came out with a proposal for taxing so-called unhealthy foods to raise budget incomes. The ministry’s black list includes potato chips, popcorn and salted corn snacks, sublimated soups, chocolate, confectioneries, sugar, salt, margarine, animal fat, salami and sausages with a content of salt over 1.25 grams per 100 grams, and soft drinks, both sweet and containing caffeine. Also, the Health Ministry is for a gradual rise in the tax on alcohol and tobacco.