Don says tariff rise on tobacco, alcoholic drinks long overdue

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A Don, Prof. Michael Akur, has said that the tariff rise on tobacco and alcoholic drinks by the Federal Government was long overdue considering their effects on Nigerians.

Akur, who teaches Finance and Statistics at the University of Jos, lauded the tariff increase in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

He noted that excessive consumption of cigarettes and alcoholic drinks were dangerous to human health and affect productivity.

“Those in the medical field have told us on many occasions that excessive consumption of both can lead to cardiovascular diseases for the victim.

“The timing of the tariff rise is good, especially now that the country’s economy had recovered from recession and needs some financial injections.

“It will help the economy to consolidate on its current positive growth.

“The tariff rise will also ameliorate the number of Nigerians consuming both cigarettes and alcohols and inject some sort of discipline in the society,” he said.

He urged the manufacturers of alcoholic brands to shift more on non alcoholic products.

“The alcoholic product manfacturers should focus more on non spirit drinks in order to remain in business and get a good size of the market share.

“They should focus more on the production of other types of drinks because there is big prospect in the non alcoholic product market,” he said.

NAN reports that the Ministry of Finance, Kemi Adeosun announced on Sunday in Abuja that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco.

A statement by the Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the minister, Oluyinka Akintunde quoted her as saying that the increase takes effect from Monday, June 4, 2018.

According to Adeosun, the upward review of the excise duty rates was to achieve a dual benefit of raising the government’s fiscal revenues and reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.

Under the newly approved excise duty rates for tobacco in addition to the 20 per cent ad-valorem rate, each stick of cigarette will attract a N1 specific rate (N20 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2018, which will double in 2019, and N2.90 per stick (N58 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2020.

“The new specific excise duty rate for alcoholic beverages cuts across Beer & Stout, Wines and Spirits for the three years 2018 to 2020.

“Beer & Stout would attract N0.30k per centiliter (Cl) in 2018 and N0.35k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020.

“Wines would attract N1.25k per Cl in 2018 and N1.50k per Cl each in 2019 and 2020, while N1.50k per Cl was approved for Spirits in 2018, N1.75k per Cl in 2019 and N2.00k per Cl in 2020,” she said.

The minister added that the new excise duty are in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directive on the harmonisation of member-states’ legislations on excise duties.(NAN)

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