Concerns mount as FG imposes N10/liter excise duty on soft drinks The Informant247

Concerns mount as FG imposes N10/liter excise duty on soft drinks

Some industrialists have expressed concerns over government’s imposition of N10/litre excise duty on non-alcoholic beverages production.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos, Dr Chinyere Almona, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said that her immediate concerns were the likely increase in prices.

This, she said, would lead to decreased demand and consequently loss of jobs because of inherent reduction in production.

Almona said the prohibition on imported drinks should be better enforced to protect domestic production from unfair competition in the face of the high cost of production in Nigeria.

She recommended that the realised revenue from these levies be channelled to improving the country’s grossly inadequate health infrastructure.

“The Chamber supports both the government’s revenue drive and the pro-health considerations of several stakeholders.

“The allocation of N876 billion to the health sector in the 2022 federal budget should be reviewed to about a trillion Naira and invested into the sector in the next 10 years,’’ she said.

“Beyond the levying of taxes on carbonated drinks to force a reduction in consumption, public health agencies should regulate the production of sugary drinks to reduce their negative effect on human health,’’ she added.

Almona also expressed LCCI’s concerns over government’s stand on the enforcement of revenue targets for government-owned enterprises.

According to her, the operations of government-owned enterprises should not be built up into a hostile business environment where the private sector will find it challenging to thrive.

Dr Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, also implored government to put the move on hold to enhance job creation and poverty alleviation.

He noted that the manufacturing sector offered a good platform for the laudable aspiration of the president to create jobs and to lift people out of poverty.

He noted that excessive taxation could become unbearable for the private sector and hinder the job creation and poverty alleviation promised by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is worthy of note that manufacturers, including producers of non-alcoholic beverages are already paying numerous taxes and levies which put a lot of pressure on them.

“Some of the taxes and levies that are already being paid include Corporate Income Tax of 30 per cent, Education Levy of 2 per cent and Value Added Tax (VAT) of 7.5 per cent.

“Others are Withholding Tax, Land Charges, Environmental Tax and numerous unofficial taxes.

“This move is ill-timed and inappropriate given the prevailing harsh economic and business conditions and a negation of the economic recovery and job creation aspirations of the Federal Government.

“Many upcoming small businesses in the beverages sector will be hard hit by this proposal.

“The millions of micro enterprises in the soft drinks’ distribution chain will be adversely impacted by the imposition of the excise tax.

“This is detrimental to the job creation and poverty reduction commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari,’’ he said. (NAN

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