Beer-friendly Babiš: I’m no populist
Finance minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) is pushing a plan to subject beer on-tap and nonalcoholic drinks to the lower 10-percent VAT rate by the second half of this year.
“It’s not as if I am supporting alcoholism and I am not a populist,” insisted Babiš. He recommended that those describing him as a populist look up the correct definition of the term on Wikipedia or in a dictionary. He’d done so himself, he said.
Babiš did however concede that his proposal amounted to something of a marketing exercise, given that the finance ministry had not come up with a different way of promoting its proposal for mandatory electronic cash registers (or EET) to cover all retail transactions.
The lowering of the VAT rate from the current 21 percent applicable to draught beer and non-alcoholic drinks would cost the state purse around 225 million crowns annually. Ministry data determines that there are around 40,000 small hospitality premises in the country which are mainly reliant on beer sales because they do not run a kitchen. The lower VAT rate would therefore boost their
According to Babiš, it should also cause beer prices to fall – in the case of a glass of beer costing 22 crowns, by around two crowns, and by around three crowns when it came to a 33-crown beer. A trader selling a daily average of 100 beers at a price of 27 crowns each would therefore see their margin climb by around 250 crowns on each business day. But if the VAT proposal goes ahead, it would be up to each business to decide whether to pass on some savings to the customer.