Lower house adopts bill on taxes on sugary drinks, alcohol

2020-02-15 10:20 update: 2020-02-19, 14:50
Photo PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski
Photo PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski
Poland's Sejm (lower house) on Friday adopted a bill and amendments which will introduce taxes on small bottles of alcohol (up to 300 ml) and sugary drinks. The bill will now be sent to the Senate.

The bill and amendments of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party passed by a vote of 254 to 169, with 16 abstentions.

Ahead of the voting in the plenary chamber, PiS MP Lukasz Schreiber said that this surcharge was, in a greater degree, being imposed on sugary and carbonated drinks, and that 100-percent juices would be excluded from the charges. He pointed out the bill would encourage producers to add as much fruit as possible to juices.

Deputy Minister of Health Janusz Cieszynski noted "this is a good project, which was supported in a letter addressed to the Polish government from the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

The proposed surcharges on sugary and energy drinks will be fixed and variable. The fixed surcharge will be PLN 0.5 (EUR 0.12) per litre of drinks with added sugar or sweeteners, and PLN 0.1 (EUR 0.02) per litre of drinks with an added active substance (caffeine or taurine). The variable surcharge will be PLN 0.05 (EUR 0.01) for each gram of sugar above 5 grams/100 ml per litre of drink.

Revenues from the sugary drink surcharges are to flow to the National Health Fund (NFZ) and must be allocated to educational and preventative measures, as well as to healthcare services, in particular, to address obesity-related health issues.

The draft law introduces surcharges on small bottles of alcohol (up to 300 ml), which are known colloquially as malpki (monkeys) in Polish. The proposed surcharge is PLN 25 (EUR 5.88) per litre of 100 pct pure alcohol sold in packaging with volumes of 300 ml and less. 

According to the ministry, 50 percent of the revenues generated from the new tax on alcoholic drinks will go to municipalities, while 50 percent will go to the NFZ for education and prevention programmes, and the provision of psychiatric care and addiction treatment. (PAP)

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