‘Our taxes are over N300bn, save us from collapse’ — Soft drink producers beg n’assembly

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Major players in the soft drink market have asked the national assembly to protect businesses from collapse over the N10/litre excise duty tax imposed on the industry.

 

They said this on Wednesday in Abuja in a meeting with the leadership of the national assembly.

 

In January, the federal government introduced an excise duty of N10/litre on all non-alcoholic, carbonated and sweetened beverages. The duty is contained in the finance act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 2021.

 

Operators in the carbonated soft drinks sub-sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) had kicked against the tax.

 

Speaking on behalf of the producers, Segun Apata, chairman of the Nigerian Bottling Company Limited, said the national assembly the tax burden could lead to the collapse of the sector.

 

“We have come to you that the sector is about to collapse. We don’t want to go into the public to announce this is happening to us without placing it before you as leaders of this country,” Apata said.

 

“The finance act imposes an excise tax on all non-alcoholic beverages. In our sector, the taxes we pay — company tax, VAT, education tax — are over N300 billion.”


Responding, Lawan said the national assembly would continue to protect businesses in the country and address the N10/litre excise duty tax on carbonated drinks.

 

“I have listened to your submissions. I want to assure you that everything that we do as a government, an administration, we do so to promote, support, protect and foster businesses in our country,” he said.

 

“You are the owners of the businesses. You invested in the soft drink industry in Nigeria.

 

“But Nigerians are the beneficiaries because in addition to drinking the soft drink, our citizens also get jobs and for those reasons, it is always at the forefront of our considerations and focuses that we must enhance the business environment in Nigeria and create ease of doing business in Nigeria.


“Besides, we are also conscious that the world is a global village. There are so many other areas to which somebody could easily move out. We don’t want to lose businesses in Nigeria to our competitors. So we have to have a competitive environment here.

 

“I have taken note of how long you have been in Nigeria. The fact that you have stayed for 70 years (NBC) tells that the Nigerian environment has provided you with the opportunity to invest and reap from your investment because it is a symbiotic relationship.

 

“While you are making profits from your business, we are also getting jobs and other benefits. I want to assure you that when the Finance Act 2022 was passed into law, we did so unconsciously, trying to address the issues, not trying to overburden your businesses.”

 

In attendance were top officials of major players in the industry, including those from Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited, La Casera Company, Rite Foods Limited and Nigerian Bottling Company Limited.

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