Virtually all the stakeholders in the country’s manufacturing industry who appeared at the senate committee hearing exercise on Monday strongly kicked against proposed 500% increase on excise tariff by the Ministry of Finance.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), Association of Food Beverage and Tobacco Employers of Nigeria ( AFBTEN) and other stakeholders jointly opposed the proposed excise tariff’ hike in their separate submissions made before the Senate Committee on Finance .
Following the resolution of the Senate in May this year, the Senate Committee on Finance organized public hearing on “urgent need to review the excise tariff increment in order to save local distillers of beverages from looming extinction”.
The stakeholders at the hearing said the proposed policy anchored on recommendation to that effect by Tariff Technical Committee (TTC), would if allowed to be implemented, run affected manufacturers and producers out of business and rendered millions of Nigerians jobless .
While the Chairman of DIBAN , Engineer Patrick Anegbe in his submission lamented that if the policy is allowed to see the light of the day, N420billion worth of investment would be ruined aside 250,000 workers to be laid off , representative of Guiness in her submission said,£12million worth of investnent by the company would by jeopardized along with collateral damages of thousands of Nigerians that would end up in the labour market .
Comrade Mike Olanrewaju who represented the Labour Unions at the hearing session, said the proposed 500% increase on excise tariff is suicidal and must not be allowed to be implenented .
According to him, the proposed policy is dead on arrival since Labour and other critical stakeholders were not consulted.
“One of the strategies expected from any responsible and responsive government in preventing crime and fighting poverty is job creation and not job losses through outrageous and outlandish tariff hike that would collapse industries and by extension , rendered millions of Nigerians jobless.
“To us in the labour sector , capital NO to such tariff increase and if any increase is to be made at all, it should not be above one digit .
“ The proposed increase is counterproductive and would be resisted by all stakeholders because after Dunlop, Michelin etc ,we don’t want any industry to collapse or relocate out of the country again “, he said .
Though the Director General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi Kadiri in his own submission, admitted that the Ministry of Finance and TTC , consulted them in the proposed tariff hike but the rate agreed upon on the basis of revenue generation by government was not what the Ministry eventually arrived at .
However, the Director of Legal Services from the Ministry of Finance who represented the Minister, Kemi Adeosun, said the 500% excise tariff hike was agreed upon by all stakeholders before the ministry issued circular to that effect in February this year.
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