Imposition of excise duty on carbonated drinks most inappropriate – Says Dr Musa Yusuf
* Faults Finance Ministry on proposal
“The proposal by Federal Ministry of Finance to reintroduce excise duty on carbonated drinks is ill-timed, most inappropriate given the prevailing harsh economic and business conditions”, says Dr Musa Yusuf, the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE).
Dr Yusuf made these assertions while reviewing economic activities in 2021 fiscal year.
He explained that the citizens, as well as the business community are already experiencing galloping and volatile inflationary condition, as such the timing is inappropriate.
Dr Yusuf, who is also an Economist and former Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said :
“Reintroduction of excise duty is also a negation of economic recovery, job creation and poverty reduction aspirations of the Federal Government.
“Many upcoming small businesses in the beverage sector would be hard hit by this proposal. Millions of micro enterprises in the soft drinks’ fruit juice distribution chain will be adversely impacted by the imposition of excise tax.”
According to him : “Nigerian manufacturing companies and indeed most investors, are going through tremendous stress at the moment. They are currently grappling with serious macro-economic challenges and structural constraints impacting on capacity utilisation, productivity and competitiveness.
This is affecting sales, turnover, profitability, shareholders’ value and sustainability of investments”.
He pointed out :
“The norm globally at this time is to provide incentives for industries to aid their recovery from the shocks of the pandemic and escalating costs. We cannot afford to be doing the exact opposite.”
He went on: “Manufacturers across all product segments need respite, especially in the light of the unprecedented escalation of production and operating costs.”
On Cargo Clearing Process at the Ports; he said :
“There is an urgent need to ease the cargo clearing processes at our ports. This is a major component of ease of doing business to which government has expressed commitment. We need to do this through reduction in the number of agencies involved in cargo clearing at our ports.
“Deploying technology to aid Customs clearing process, the use of scanner is particularly very important. It is a sad commentary that the largest economy in Africa has been examining cargo and containers physically and manually for the past few years.
“The effect of this on the cost of import has been humongous. Interest payment on imports, demurrage charges arising from delays, extra charges by shipping companies, additional charges by the truck drivers; all of these have put a lot of burden on cost on investors and citizens.
“We should expedite action on the single window system, in order to minimise human interface at the ports.
“We need to put a credible independent dispute resolution system in place, in order to resolve dispute between the Customs Service and importers.
Involvement of Nigerian Police in clearance of cargo should be discontinued.”