FG Will Reconsider Tariff on Local Beverages, Says Ngige


Ugo Aliogo
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has assured members of the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Joint Employers and Workers Association (NUFBTJEWA) that the federal government will review the newly introduced 500 per cent excise duty on locally produced alcoholic beverages.

Ngige disclosed this recently in Abuja while responding to call by leaders of the association who were in his office on a Save Our Soul (SOS) mission.
The Minister said the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) of the government was partly tailored towards job creation rather than losses, saying that the Executive Order No. 1 and 4 are for job creation as well as ensuring that jobs created were done by the locals.

According to him, “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. He will definitely ask the Minister of Finance and the economic management team to review the tariff.

“We cannot afford to create poverty and job losses here while promoting abundant jobs in other countries. Job losses are not part of this government and will not support the 500 per cent tariff increase.
“This is not to say that we don’t know that in some places available jobs have more than available staff members to match them, but this is a compassionate administration.

“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.”
Furthermore, Ngige who expressed the commitment of the government to the welfare of workers, also referred to the staff housing programme for workers being operated by the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, under the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) and other housing programmes meant to provide cheap houses to workers.