NECA urges government to stop excise duty, hike in VAT on drinks

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has commended the Federal Government for ensuring a timeous completion of the budgetary process at both the Executive and Legislative arms of government, saying, this would help the business community to make projections and plan appropriately.

NECA made this known in a press release made available to journalists on Sunday in Lagos.

Following this commendation, NECA expressed deep concern about the reintroduction of excise duty on carbonated drinks, stating that, in the interest of Nigerians and the economy, the new ten naira per liter excise duty on all carbonated drinks should be suspended.

The Association stated further that the government should continue to support and promote the manufacturing industry to attain full recovery after the onslaught of the pandemic and position it to further accommodate the teeming unemployed Nigerians, particularly the youths.

NECA drew the government’s attention to the appeal of the organized private sector in Nigeria, which, according to it, is the clamor for a business environment that will be agile, less bureaucratic, and cost-effective to support general business operations, with the quest that the private sector would support the National Development Plan (2021-2025) with about N298.3 trillion and lift over 30 million Nigerians out of poverty lines through the creation of decent jobs over the period.

NECA noted that the private sector has the potential to achieve the set target, pointing out that, there is a need to treasure and nourish the bird that lays the golden egg.

It further pointed out that, a further hike in Value Added Tax (VAT) would only increase the revenue of the government temporarily, as this would further translate to a reduction in consumption for some items, a loss of jobs for workers in the production value chains of those items, as well as negatively impact overall government revenue projections. etc.

NECA is also urging the federal government to urgently initiate a deepened engagement with critical stakeholders, including employers and organized labor, with the view of arriving at a more realistic strategy to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal on workers, employers, and the generality of Nigerians.

It argued that the current subsidy regime is not sustainable, with the subsidy payment hovering around N150 billion monthly and around N2 trillion annually, stating that with the removal of the subsidy, the funds that would be saved could help address the wide infrastructural deficits and other gaps in the country.

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