TEARS!!! Nigerians To Face Severe Hardship Ahead Of 2019, As President Muhammadu Buhari Gives Very Damning Immediate Marching Order

By Joshua Amaugo July 16, 2018 11:11

TEARS!!! Nigerians To Face Severe Hardship Ahead Of 2019, As President Muhammadu Buhari Gives Very Damning Immediate Marching Order

President Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered the imposition of excise duties on soaps and other basic consumables in Nigeria.

The development is coming just a few months after the President approved an amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco, with effect from June 4, 2018.

Recall, that under the newly approved excise duty rates for tobacco, in addition to the 20 percent ad-valorem rate, each stick of cigarette will attract a N1 specific rate per stick (N20 per pack of 20 sticks), in 2018; N2 specific rate per stick (N40 per pack of 20 sticks), in 2019; and N2.90k specific rate per stick (N58 per pack of 20 sticks), in 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.

As at 2016/2017, President Buhari had enforced the ban of 41 items from entering into the country, without palliative measures to cushion the effect, a situation that led to shortages of basic items, hike in price, severe hunger, and suicide among Nigerians.

The items banned were: Rice, Cement, Margarine, Palm Kernel/Palm oil products/Vegetable oils, Meat and processed Meat products, Vegetables and processed Vegetable products, Poultry Chicken, Eggs, Turkey, private Airplanes/Jets, Indian incense, Tinned fish in sauce(Geisha)/Sardines, Cold rolled steel sheets, Galvanized steel sheets, Roofing sheets, Wheelbarrows, Head pans, Metal boxes and containers, Enamelware, Steel drums, Steel pipes, Wire rods (deformed and not deformed), Iron rods and reinforcing bard, Wire mesh, Steel nails, Security and Razor wine, Wood particle boards and panels, Wood Fibre Boards and Panels, Plywood boards and Panels, Wooden doors, Toothpicks, Glass and Glassware, Kitchen utensils, Tableware, Tiles-vitrified and ceramic, Textiles, Woven fabrics, Clothes, Plastic and Rubber products, Polypropylene granules, Cellophane Wrappers, Cosmetics, Tomatoes/Tomato pastes, and Eurobond/Foreign currency bond/Share purchases.

Presently, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, has expressed worries over plans to impose new excise duty on soaps and basic consumer goods.

In a statement signed by the Director-General, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, on Sunday, July 15, the Chamber expressed worry over the move to extend the new duty regime to several other basic items.

He said: “For instance, the Nigeria Customs Service’s excise duty list on its website is inclusive of many basic and essential products, such as soap and detergent, toilet papers, cleansing or facial tissue, and spaghetti/noodles.

“These are products consumed largely by ordinary Nigerians. Any imposition of excise duty on these products will further aggravate the poverty situation in the country, and undermine the welfare of citizens. Already, poverty incidence is well over 60 percent in the country.”

Yusuf noted that food inflation remained of great concern in the country. Citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, he noted that food inflation was 13.45 percent in May, as against the core inflation of 10.7 percent, and headline inflation of 11.6 percent.

He said: “Soaps and detergents, for instance, are necessities needed to maintain basic hygiene that protect citizens from preventable diseases, like diarrhoea, cholera, and lower respiratory infections, among others.

“These have significant health and social impacts on Nigerians.”

According to him, the planned extension of the new excise duty regime to cover soaps and detergents, will invariably increase their prices, make them inaccessible for the common man, and further heighten their plight, amid the current economic challenges that have reduced their purchasing power.

Yusuf added that imposing or increasing excise duty rates, would cripple domestic production and encourage importation, which would conflict with the vision of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, regarding economic diversification, job creation, and local value addition.

Yusuf pointed out that one of the most vulnerable sectors of the economy was the manufacturing sector, which he noted was already grappling with high operating costs, and weak purchasing power, among others.

The LCCI DG added: “If the government cannot give tax incentives to manufacturing firms, it should not impose additional tax burden on them, given the challenging operating environment for production in the economy.

“It is even worse when such burden is on necessities consumed largely by the ordinary people. We therefore, request an urgent rethink of the proposition to increase or impose excise duty on the production of basic needs in the economy”, Yusuf cried out.

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