The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has dispatched a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari requesting for a review of the newly introduced 500 percent excise duty on alcoholic beverages.
The Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowokere, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
The Federal Government hiked the excise duty on alcoholic beverages and tobacco on June 4, 2018.
The Minister was quoted to have made the comment when members of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Joint Employers and Workers Association visited him in his office.
“This will save the sector from imminent collapse and forestall the consequent loss of about two hundred thousand jobs.
“You have written to the Federal Government through me that the increase in excise duty on alcohol and beverages will create job losses.
“Because once you add a new cost and pass it on, there will be consumer resistance, resulting in low patronage. Whereas the products coming from overseas that are being smuggled in which are cheap, will take over the market. It is a statement of fact.
“I have passed your complaints and luckily we have a listening President who wants the good of all Nigerians. The President will definitely ask the minister of finance and the economic management team to review the tariff,” Ngige said.
The Minister said Nigeria cannot afford to create poverty and job losses while promoting abundant jobs in other countries.
He said job losses are not part of the present administration’s programme and would not support the 500 percent tariff increase.
The Minister said the economic and recovery growth plan (ELGP) of the government was partly tailored towards job creation rather than losses.
He said the cardinal place job creation and protection occupy informed the administration’s fidelity to non-declaration of redundancy in the federal ministries and agencies, hence no retrenchment of workers.
“This is not to say that we do not know that in some places available jobs have more than available staff members to match them but this is a compassionate administration,” he said.
“The President does not want to throw many families into anguish. The President always said that he was a salary earner in all his working life.
“You can also see that we did not place an embargo on recruitment as we used to have years ago even while we were under recession.
“The federal government has been replacing staff members who exited as well as creating new jobs in the public sector. But this has to be complemented with the private sector jobs to have a full blend,” he added.