Nigerians may soon start paying more for soft drinks as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has revealed plans to start collecting excise duty on the non-alcoholic beverages.
The Federal Government had abolished collection of excise duty on soft drinks in 1993.
However, Comptroller General of the NCS, on Thursday, told the joint committee of the Senate on finance and national planning that tax waivers should no longer be extended to companies that are producing soft drinks in the country.
He noted that there is no reason to exempt companies that produce soft drinks from taxation when those that produce alcohol and tobacco are paying excise duties.
Ali said, “We have been pushing for the expansion of our own excise collection.
“During the (Ernest) Shonekan regime (in 1993), excise was stopped for carbonated drinks manufacturers, like Coca-Cola.
“The only one approved for us are tobacco alcoholic beverages. The understanding then was that tobacco and alcoholic beverages affect the health of citizens and should be taxed.
“But we know that carbonated drinks are also injurious to the health of the people due to the high sugar content.
“Therefore if tobacco and alcoholic beverages companies are paying tax, the carbonated drink manufacturers should also pay.”
In his response, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, wondered why companies such as Coca-Cola do not pay excise duty.
“I don’t understand why Coca-cola for instance should not pay excise.
“It is an established company all over the world and it dominates the soft drinks industry,” the Senate President said.
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