The Organised Private Sector of Nigeria comprising the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industries, and the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises has rejected the recently announced increase in excise tax.
The hike, contained in the circular dated April 20, 2023, was reportedly signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
In a statement signed by the Director-General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir; Director-General, NACCIMA, Olusola Obadimu; Director-General, NECA, Adewale Oyerinde; Director-General, Ifeanyi Oputa; and Director-General, NASSI, and Eke Ubiji, the OPSN called for an immediate reversal of the hike. It said the increase was unwarranted, ill-timed and inimical to the Nigerian economy and the manufacturing sector in particular.
It said the manufacturing sector is presently grappling with unprecedented challenges including the sustained scarcity of naira, limited access to foreign exchange, a struggling economy and persistent inflation, alongside perennial problems of multiple taxation and epileptic power supply.
These challenges, the OPSN said, had resulted in a record crash in sales for most businesses running into billions of Naira, with the result that manufacturers are struggling to remain in business, amidst looming job cuts, mothballing of factories and total shutdown of businesses.
The statement partly read, “Therefore, increasing excise rates at this time is extremely ill-advised and may sound the death knell for affected businesses and their contribution to the national economy, even as the broader manufacturing sector continues to deteriorate.
“In light of the above, the OPSN respectfully requests the Federal Government to urgently reverse the increase in excise rates to protect the affected industries and the dependent businesses in their extended value chain from imminent collapse with calamitous consequences for the economy.
“We further request that the Federal Government suspends excise taxes in the manufacturing sector for a minimum of six months, to arrest the alarming decline in the sector.”
The OPSN also advised the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently deploy measures to fully alleviate the Naira scarcity crisis and prioritise foreign exchange allocations to the productive sector.