Nigeria one of the highly religious countries globally is among the world’s top ten markets for alcohol and the highest consumer of alcohol. According to the World Health Organization estimates, an average Nigerian consumes about 12.28 litres of alcohol per annum.
In March this year, the president Muhammadu Buhari approved the new excise duty for tobacco and alcohol beverages and 90 days grace period was granted to manufacturers of the products. The new excise duty however, took effect yesterday, June 4, 2018, says the federal Government.
Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance said that the new excise duty rates would spread over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020 in order to moderate the impact on prices of the products.
According to her, the upward review of the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages and tobacco was to raise the government’s fiscal revenues.
“Furthermore, peer country comparisons were also carried out showing Nigeria as being behind the curve in the review of excise duty rates on alcoholic beverages and tobacco.”
The excise duty attracts N1 per cigarette (N20 per pack) in 2018, N2 per cigarette (N40 per pack) in 2019, N2.90 per cigarette (N58 per pack) the following year. In addition, Nigeria the regional manufacturing giant produces an estimated 21 billion
sticks annually and exports 9 billion of them to neighbouring Ivory Coast, Benin Republic and Burkina Faso. The country stands to earn N126 billion ($330 million) over the phase
Also, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action of Earth Nigeria, described the decision to increase excise duty on tobacco as praise-worthy.
“We applaud the federal government for making tobacco products priced beyond the reach of our kids and the poor who are unfortunately targeted by the tobacco industry through their cheap but lethal products.
“Considering the looming tobacco menace in Nigeria, it is necessary to take stringent measures to halt the deliberate marketing of tobacco products to kids,” said Oluwafemi.
Therefore, if this policy is implemented effectively would also reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse in the country.