Sao Tome and Principe government reduces customs charges on foodstuffs

29 December 2006

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 29 Dec – The government of Sao Tome and Principe has decided to make several foodstuffs exempt from customs taxes to promote economic development and combat poverty, officials said in Sao Tome Thursday.

The move was approved by a parliamentary session and is part of a national tax reform plan and policy to combat poverty.

Rice, sugar, beans and oil, considered to be essential foods, which were previously charged 5 percent, are now exempt from customs taxes.

According to the new law, the charge on other foodstuffs must not exceed 1 percent of their import cost, insurance and freight.

Import taxes on alcoholic drinks, such as wine, rose by 10 percent and beer saw a rise of 3 percent. The import tax on tobacco was increased by 5 percent.

The government’s proposal to raise consumer tax by two percentage points, was not approved by the country’s parliament.

With little over 140,000 inhabitants, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the population of Sao Tome and Principe lives below the poverty line on less than a dollar a day. (macauhub)