By Chika Otuchikere
The Federal Government has denied allegation that the recent hike in the excise on alcoholic beverages is targeted at stifling local manufacturers
The Ministry of Finance, in a statement by the director of information, Hassan Dodo, on Sunday, said the excise regime seeks to raise the government’s revenues to support the nation’s growth and reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.
Dodo said the Federal Government remains committed to the industrialization agenda and shall continue to put in place fiscal policy measures to protect local manufacturers and stimulate the growth of the economy.
“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance has been drawn to media reports that the new excise duty rates approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on alcoholic beverages and tobacco were targeted at local manufacturers.
“The Ministry wishes to unequivocally state that the new excise duty rates which came into effect from Monday, 4th June, 2018, were not targeted at the local manufacturers.
“The new excise regime seeks to achieve a dual benefit of raising the government’s revenues to support the nation’s growth and reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.
“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 by the government 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,” he said.