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Hike in price of non-alcoholic drinks looms, as Customs boss seeks enforcement of new taxes

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Consumers of non-alcoholic drinks may have to pay more for their drinks as the Nigerian Customs Service Comptroller General, Ali Hammed, has asked for the implementation of the carbonated drinks levy.

The levy, which is contained in the Finance Act of 2020 makes provision for tax on carbonated drinks.

Hammed on Monday, while appearing before the House Committee on Finance during the interactive session on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), said he had been advocating for the implementation of the law.

He noted that the argument for levy on alcoholic drinks was based on health grounds, noting that carbonated drinks are as dangerous as alcoholic beverages.

The Customs boss said companies like Coca-Cola are operating in Nigeria without proper taxation.

I have been on this battle that we should re-excise the companies that were deexcised in 2019—what we have been fighting for is that alcohol beverages and tobacco are injurious to our health, that is why the government decided to tax them, the carbonated drinks are equally injurious to our health and they should be taxed,” he said.

He added that, “I have sung this song for many years now, Coca-Cola is producing in this country and he is not being taxed, there is nowhere you go in the world that Coca-Cola is not paying tax to its host country, but Coca-Cola in this country is not paying anything. Because of the government unwillingness to re-excise those companies, for us, we have been battling for it, and I hope that one day, we will start collecting.”

This push is coming amid double-digit inflation that is rocking the country and rising prices of food items.

The chairman of the committee, James Faleke, disclosed that the committee will consider amending the Act to accommodate all drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated drinks.

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