After ten years in the making, it was possible that South Africa would implement a carbon tax in 2017, as directed in National Treasury’s Draft Carbon Tax Bill, published late last year, Carbon Check South Africa said on Friday.
Promulgating a tax on carbon-dioxide-equivalent (CO2-e) emissions had been delayed several times since South Africa first committed to mitigate climate-changing emissions in 2006, but it was now in the final stages of consideration as National Treasury mulled the 90 comments it received on the draft document before the deadline in December.
“The carbon tax is coming – it is just a matter of timing,” Carbon Check CEO Adam Simcock said on Friday, presenting a Schindlers Attorneys-hosted seminar on the proposed carbon tax.
Former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene indicated in October last year that government had not yet determined an actual implementation date, with the tax having initially been set for introduction in 2015.
However, current Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan had remained mum on the subject during his 2016 Budget Speech in February.
The Draft Carbon Tax Bill, published in November 2015 for public comment, had indicated that companies would be taxed from January 1, 2017, with each tax period running for a full calendar year and due six months following the close of a company’s financial year-end.
A carbon tax rate of R120/t of CO2-e emissions would be applied in the first four-year phase up until 2020, with various tax-free thresholds of between 60% and 95% of total emissions, reducing the effective carbon tax rate to between R6/t and R48/t of CO2-e.
This implied that the carbon tax would be imposed on only 5% to 40% of actual emissions up to 2020, as the developing countries – the first to commit to carbon reductions – committed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 34% below business as usual levels by 2020 and by 42% by 2025.
The proposed tax targeted emissions from fossil fuel combustion, emissions from industrial processes and product use and fugitive emissions.
The draft Bill would be revised, taking into account public comments and further consultation before being tabled with Parliament for approval.
The carbon tax was expected to be implemented with complementary measures, such as a reduction in the electricity levy and other measures, to recycle revenue, lessening its impact on businesses.