JOHANNESBURG – With the advent of September, we are now two-thirds of the way through 2018, which means we are staring into the headlights of a complex and demanding new fiscal instrument – carbon tax.
To the government’s credit, there have been several rounds of consultation, much discussion, tweaking and reflection. However, I suspect we have now seen the final request for inputs, and that government is serious about launching carbon tax in January, or very soon after that.
The National Treasury published a revised draft of the Carbon Tax Bill on December 14 last year and invited the public to make submissions and comment on the bill by March 9 this year. There were 59 written comments on the revised bill, and officials presented their responses to these comments to the standing committee on finance on June 7.
So, what have we learnt? The parliamentary process for the Carbon Tax Bill is expected to be completed by the end of this year, but the government may consider moving back the implementation date of January 1, 2019, by a little, but not by much. Assuming there are no big cabinet reshuffles before then, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will announce an updated implementation date when introducing the bill at the next Medium Term Budget speech or in next year’s Budget speech. It’s coming, folks. Brace yourselves.
Complex, but vitally important, details on carbon offsets and trade exposure will soon be published for comment. A report is expected to be published later this year, developed with industry input, and to be reviewed by the World Bank’s Market Readiness Project.