…Says 275,000 jobs under threat
The last may not have been heard of the over 500 percent hike in excise duty on local alcoholic beverages as the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (MAN) a sub-sectoral group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has accused the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, of foisting International Monetary Fund (IMF) agenda on Nigeria.
Chairman of Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIMAN), Mr. Patrick Anegbe, maintained that the highly punitive and selective astronomical hike in duty was purely an IMF agenda being camouflaged as a health concern.
Anegbe further stated that the association was sad to note that the hike in duty is an attempt to foist an IMF sponsored agenda on Nigeria, which he said, will further compound the hardship of already impoverished citizens.
The DIBAN Chairman worried that, if the implementation of the new duty hike is allowed to proceed, the prices of their products will be high and unaffordable by consumers, adding that, this will result in low demand for products with consequent job loses of over 25,000 Nigerian employyes and over 250,000 connected SMEs workers.
‘‘We are also concerned that the new excise duty will lead to the collapse of the indigenous wines and spirits segment and pave way for the complete takeover of the Nigeria wines and spirits market by the imported and smuggled brands.
We are also disturbed that the new hike will not only affect the wines and spirits industry but also other key sectors of the economy and businesses such as packaging industries, bottles, cartons, labels, cork, laminates, glue, ink, printing, laboratory, marketing, consulting, media, to mention a few,’’ he warned.
Recall that BIDAN had 3 months ago written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, on the dire consequences of the duty hike, saying it was capapble of threatening the N420 billion spirit and wine industry.
But, latest feelers from industry watchers indicate that government may have concluded plans to go ahead with the tariff hike.
Under the new duty regime being approved for implementation by Adeosun, this translates to an increase in duty from the current average of N30 per litre to N150 per litre in the first year and 200 per litre subsequently.
The implication of the duty hike according to BIDAN, translates to an increase from current average duty of N270 to N1350 per case (carton) in the first year and N270 to N1800 per case (carton) from second year, translating to an increase of over 500 percent purely on local wines and spirits with the exclusion of all imported wines, spirits and champagne.