The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has expressed concern about government’s proposed plan to extend excise duty rates on some basic and essential products such as, soap and detergent, toilet papers, cleansing or facial tissue and spaghetti/noodles.
In a statement by its Director-General, Muda Yusuf, the LCCI noted that while food inflation remains a great concern, imposing excise duty on basic items may aggravate the poverty condition in the country, as soaps and detergents are necessities needed to maintain basic hygiene that protect citizens from preventable diseases.
It, therefore, urged the Federal Government to rethink the decision to increase or impose excise duty on the production of basic needs in the economy.The Federal Government had last month commenced the enforcement of the approved amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages, spirits and tobacco.
According to the chamber, information on the website of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) showed that the excise duty list on its website is inclusive of many basic and essential products.
The LCCI said the planned extension of excise duty rates to cover soaps and detergent would 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.
“Currently, one of the most vulnerable sectors in the Nigerian economy is the manufacturing sector. Already, the sector is grappling with high operating cost, high energy cost, weak purchasing power of consumers, unfriendly tax environment, high regulatory compliance cost, influx of smuggled products as well as high cost of logistics.
“If the government cannot give tax incentives to manufacturing firms, it should not impose additional tax burden on them. 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 rates on the production of basic needs in the economy,” the statement added.