Uche Usim, Abuja
Following widespread belief that the new excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco that came into effect on June 4 were targeted at local manufacturers, the Finance Ministry, on Sunday, explained that the decision, on the contrary, will boost their operations by insulating them from undue competition as the imported brands now attract 60 per cent duty.
The Ministry, in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Hassan Dodo, said the new excise regime seeks to achieve a dual benefit of raising government’s revenues to support the nation’s growth and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.
“Contrary to claims that the rates were selectively imposed on local manufacturers, there is currently a 60 per cent duty rate imposed on imported alcoholic beverages and tobacco as part of measures by the government to encourage local production and protect local manufacturing industry. It should also be noted that beer and stout are currently under import prohibition to protect the industry from unfair competition from foreign brands.
“In addition, other locally excisable products such as non-alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, perfumes, corrugated papers or paper boards and cartons have no excise duties,” he explained.
He further stressed that the newly approved excise duty rates followed all-encompassing engagements with key industry stakeholders by the Tariff Technical Committee (TTC), of which Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is a member. The stakeholders’ engagements, he added, contributed to the final recommendation.