By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Organised Labour in the Food and Beverage sector has raised the alarm over plans by the Federal Government to impose excise duty on non-alcoholic drinks, warning that such tax will cripple the sector.
Under the aegis of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, FOTOB, Labour decried excessive taxation of the industry, arguing that should the government go ahead with the imposition of the excise duty, the sector could collapse.
President of FOBTOB, Jimoh Oyibo, spoke at the Labour Writers Association of Nigeria, LAWAN’s monthly forum in Lagos
Oyibo argued that the justification by the National Assembly, the Customs, and the Finance Ministry that manufacturers of non-alcoholic drinks were making excessive profits was not enough to subject them to another tax burden that could cripple them.
He said the argument that there was a 30 per cent excise levy on alcoholic drinks should not be a yardstick for the federal government to tax the non-alcoholic drinks sector, warning against introduction of excise duty on non-alcoholic carbonated drinks, adding, “if government goes ahead to introduce exercise duty on soft drinks, the country will be in a total mess and outright collapse of the sector.
“The 30 per cent excise levy on alcoholic drinks is not enough justification to subject companies that are struggling to survive to another financial burden. If this country needs to survive, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Sector must be taken care of.
The federal government must engage all stakeholders constructively to arrive at a more beneficial conclusion to save the already struggling companies in the sector that are only surviving on a small profit margin.”