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Prevail on FG to Rescind Excise Tariff Increment – Tobacco, Beverages stakeholders to Senate


By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Tobacco and Beverages stakeholders on Monday urged the senate to prevail on the Federal Government to rescind the excise tariff increments on its products in order to save the sector from looming extinction.

The groups which informed that the increase in tariff will cause loss of jobs reminded that it will also lead to further closure of wine and spirit industries, the only surviving sector of the Nigerian economy.

The stakeholders who disclosed that they were not consulted and that when they were consulted, their contributions were not considered, made the confession at the public hearing organized by the senate in Abuja.

The public hearing followed a motion moved at the floor of the senate during plenary.

Following the motion, the senate therefore mandated its committee on finance to organise a public hearing to address the matter with the stakeholders and report back their findings to the house with a view to coming up with a workable legislation for the overall interest of the economy and country.

The public hearing which dwelled on “the urgent need to review the excise tariff increment in order to save local distillers of beverages from looming extinction” had the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) and Federal Ministry of Trade and investment in attendance(FMT&I).

Others are: Distillers and Benders Association of Nigeria, (DIBAN), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Union of Food Beverages & Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), Business Renaissance Group (BRG) and Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Associaction.

Declaring the public hearing open, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who represented the senate president, Bukola Saraki said, “The senate had to wade into the matter given the unforeseen and unprecedented impact the increase has had on business, Nigerian work force and our economy.

He said the gathering is for unfettered discuss with the federal government and relevant stakeholders in the beverage industry with a view to getting the full understanding of the issue in order that the government will take best action and decision in the overall interest of the Nigerians affected by this policy.

According to him, “We all know that there is need for the government to raise the revenue base of the country and also address the negative effect of the consumption of these beverages and tobacco products. We are also concerned about the negative effect the increment poses on these industries. Many economists are of the opinion that the full implementation of this increment will through thousands on Nigerians into high rate of unemployment.

The Managing Director, Ground Opening Initiative and Executive Secretary Distilleries Association of Nigeria, Mr. Aare Fatai Odesile commended the senate for the public hearing which he said provided opportunity for all stakeholders to express themselves.

According to him, the industry has been craving for consultation, contribution and engagement with government, adding that this public hearing has provided long desired platform.

Fatai who spoke to newsmen at the sideline insisted that the federal government did not consult the critical stakeholders like distillers and beverages sector as representatives of wines and spirits.

He informed that their futile attempt to have a discussion with the Federal government dated back to November 2017, stressing that they have even written to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and had also held meeting with the Nigerian Promotion Council just to facilitate a dialogue with Ministry of Finance all to no avail.

In his submission, Business Renaissance Group (BRG) reminded that the wines and spirits industry is one of the few surviving sectors of the Nigerian economy and insisted that all patriots and men of good conscience should strive to ensure that the sector flourishes.

It said the astronomical increase in excise duty by the minister of Finance is bound to endanger the sector if not reviewed and rescinded as it will lead to massive job loss of about 25,000 direct employment and over 200,000 indirect employees and beneficiaries.


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