In a statement issued, the CEO of SACCI, Mr. Neren Rau, said: "The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) is concerned with the potential malign economic impact of the proposed carbon tax. SACCI submitted comment to National Treasury on the Carbon Tax Policy Paper which provides a framework discussion on plans to introduce a carbon tax of R120 per ton of CO2 from 2015 onwards. The impact of such a tax will be significant on the South African economy and may have severe effects on international competitiveness and job creation. SACCI is supportive of measures to reduce carbon emissions in principle, so long as those measures remain tax neutral.
Some of the salient comments on the paper include: • There is very little detail or commitments on revenue recycling options (e.g. tax credits for investment in energy efficient machinery). • Because the carbon tax will be sizeable and revenue recycling is still unclear, there is a deep concern that the tax will not be applied to mitigation. • There are serious doubts as to whether the paper accurately reflects the diverse and complex economic impact that a carbon tax will have on South Africa. • The paper underestimates the rigidity of the labour market and by extension the ability of business to absorb dismissed workers from energy intensive industries. • The policy document accepts that investors need certainty over the medium to long term, yet is not willing to commit to a taxation schedule beyond 2020.
SACCI will continue to engage with the National Treasury in order to find a policy solution to climate change that will not endanger economic growth and job creation.