No fewer than 225,000 employees in the value chain of production and distribution of locally made wines/spirit as well as tobacco are about to be thrown into the already saturated labour market as a result of government’s plan to increase tariff and excise duty on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had few weeks ago, announced government’s decision to increase tax in alcoholic beverages and cigarettes, perhaps, to raise more revenue for government. The Minister, in a statement, said the implementation of the policy will begin on June 4.
Before now, tax on alcoholic beverages (beer, wines and spirit) stood at 20 per cent (N31 per litre) but the new excise as announced by the Finance Minister proposed a N200 tax on spirit and N150 on wines.
But, President of the Business Renaissance Group (BRG), Mazi Omeife Omeife, told newsmen at a press conference in Abuja, on Tuesday, that new tariff poses for the firms within the sector, an all-time high risk of possible shutdown especially at the low price segment, which account for 78.65 per cent volume of spirit and wine segment.
“Spirit industry is not just about alcohol but other business activities that happen within the value chain that might be affected by the decision,” he said.
He was specifically concerned that people at the packaging sector, which comprises cartons, labels, corks, lamination, glue, ink, printing, laboratory, marketing and media would be worse hit if the proposed excise is not reviewed downward.
He said, “wine and spirit industry is one of the few surviving sectors in the Nigerian economy.
he industry has investment portfolio of over N420 billion. It then behoves on all patriots and men of good conscience to ensure that it flourishes so it can continue to contribute greatly to Nigeria’s economy and create jobs.