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SA LEVEL 2: BOOST FOR TOBACCO IMPORTERS?

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MBABANE – The shortage of cigarettes in the country could be a thing of the past, if reports of South Africa’s plans to downgrade to lockdown Level 2 are anything to go by.

South Africa’s media reports suggest the ban on the sale of tobacco and alcohol, which have cost that country’s economy billions of Rand, will stand out in what was expected to be a further easing of the lockdown.

The ban on tobacco sales has been in place for over four months and reportedly cost that country more than R4 billion in uncollected excise taxes.

In Eswatini, tobacco sales are permitted but most shelves are dry due to inability to import from the neighboring country.

From last night, an announcement was expected to be made to the effect that South Africa was moving to Level 2 of the lockdown as a way of saving that country’s battered economy.

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South Africa’s TimesLive reported on Wednesday that a group of directors-general (DGs) recommended to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) that South Africa should move to Level 2 of the lockdown.

The publication reported that if Cabinet accepted this recommendation, the country could move to Level 2 lockdown this week, which would see more sectors of the economy opening up.

Ban

Agri SA, on the other hand, reportedly said that the ban on the sale of alcohol ‘was creating corporate carnage’ and urged the government to reconsider it ‘to allow the agricultural sector to continue contributing towards economic growth’.

The ban on the sale of tobacco products has been said to have also adversely affected Eswatini’s economy.

Other sectors allowed in sa level 2

 

Limited domestic air travel, with a restriction on the number of flights per day and authorisation based on the reason for travel and for business travel and subject to the ports of entry arrangements

 Transport and logistics in respect of specified cargo and permitted retail goods to neighbouring countries, which shall include all goods imported via SA ports of entry, for re-export to neighbouring countries

Essential imported goods will be prioritised through ports of entry and for transport and handling to final users. Directions will be issued in respect of other goods

 

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