By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government has stated that the new excise duty rates which came into effect on June 4 were not targeted at the local manufacturers.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement that its attention had been drawn to claims that the new excise duty rates approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on alcoholic beverages and tobacco were targeted at local manufacturers.
The new excise regime seeks to achieve a dual benefit of raising the government’s revenues to support the country’s growth and reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.
The government said contrary to claims that the rates were selectively imposed on local manufacturers, there is currently a 60 per cent duty rate imposed on imported alcoholic beverages and tobacco as part of measures 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 industrialisation agenda and shall continue to put in place fiscal policy measures to protect local manufacturers and stimulate the growth of the economy,” the statement signed by the Director (Information), Mr. Hassan Dodo, said.