By Omotilewa Quadri
The Federal Ministry of Finance on Sunday said the new excise duty rates on alcohol and tobacco were not targeted at local manufacturers in the country.
The ministry said its attention had been drawn to media reports that the new excise duty rates approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on alcoholic beverages and tobacco were targeted at local manufacturers.
“The Ministry wishes to unequivocally state that the new excise duty rates which came into effect from Monday, 4th June, 2018, were not targeted at the local manufacturers. The new excise regime seeks to achieve a dual benefit of raising the Government’s revenues to support the nation’s growth and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse,” said Hassan Dodo, Director of Information, in a statement on Sunday.
According to the ministry, contrary to claims that the rates were selectively imposed on local manufacturers, there was 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.
“We wish to clarify that the 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 contributed to the final recommendation.
“The Federal Government remains committed to the industrialization agenda and shall continue to put in place fiscal policy measures to protect local manufacturers and stimulate the growth of the economy,” the statement said.
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