By BOHEMIST STAFF
PRAGUE – Beer is about to get even cheaper, maybe. Czech Finance Minister and billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš reportedly said he is once again planning to submit a plan to the government that would reduce the value added tax (VAT) on draught beer in order to offset the oh, so expensive costs at the pubs, according to local media.
This is the second time that Babiš is attempting to move on the populist tax reduction, which would see VAT reduced to 15% from 21%, after an unsuccessful attempt in January.
Bringing down the price of beer would help to subdue a recent hike in prices thanks in part to his own project to make electronic sales registration mandatory. It is a maneuver that is likely to curry among voters, who do love their beer — the Czech Republic of course with the highest consumption per capita in the world.
Parliament approved the e-sales registration bill in February in an effort to fight tax evasion and boost budget revenue, Babiš claims. Still, political opponents accused him of populism and pre-election campaigning.
The Social Democrat Party (CSSD) responded to Babis’ first attempt to bring down the tax on beer in January with a counter proposal to cut VAT on essential foodstuffs.
The billionaire currently faces criticisms over the effect of that legislation on small businesses as well as recently renewed claims that his ongoing involvement in the private sector is a conflict of interest for the country.
Czech regional elections are due in October and will likely set the tone for parliamentary elections in 2017.