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FG may rethink 500% tariff on local beverages

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has given an indication that the Federal Government may reconsider the imposition of 500% tariff on local alcoholic beverages that is threatening over 200,000 jobs. 

The Minister said this while hosting the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Joint Employers and Workers Association in his office in Abuja. 

His words: “You have written to the Federal Government through me that the increase in excise duty on alcohol and beverages will result in job losses because once you add a new cost and pass it on, there will be consumer resistance, resulting in low patronage whereas the products coming from overseas that are being smuggled in which are cheap, will take over the market. It is a statement of fact.

“I have passed your complaints and luckily we have a listening President who wants the good of all Nigerians. He will definitely ask the Minister of Finance and the economic management team to review the tariff.

We cannot afford to create poverty and job losses here while promoting abundant jobs in other countries. Job losses are not part of this government and will not support the 500% tariff increase.”

The Minister said the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ELGP) of the Federal Government was partly tailored towards job creation rather than the locals did losses, saying that the Executive Order No. 1 and 4 were for job creation as well as ensuring that jobs are created. 

He added that the cardinal place job creation and protection occupy informed the administration’s fidelity to non-declaration of redundancy in the Federal Ministries and Agencies, which has ensured no retrenchment of workers took place even in the face of economic hardship.

He added: “This is not to say that we don’t know that in some places available jobs have more than available staff members to match them but this is a compassionate administration. The President does not want to throw many families into anguish.

The President always said that he was a salary earner in all his working life.

You can also see that we did not place an embargo on recruitment as we used to have years ago even while we were under recession.

The Federal Government has been replacing staff members who exited as well as creating new jobs in the public sector. But this has to be complemented with the private sector jobs to have a full blend.”


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