11,254 jobs lost, 13 firms shut in food, beverage sector

Posted by Kayode Ekundayo, Lagos | 21 May 2018 | 1,045 times

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•AFBTE president, Patrick Anegbe

About 11,254 jobs have been lost with 13 companies shutting down in the nation’s Food, Beverage and Tobacco sub-sector in the last four years.

The President of the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (AFBTE), Patrick Anegbe, said the figure is expected to rise if the recently approved rise in excise duty on tobacco and other consumer goods manufactured locally comes into effect from June 4, 2018.

The breakdown of the job loss shows that 8,456 jobs was lost in the drinks (breweries, bottles and distillers) 2,683 jobs lost in the tobacco and 115 jobs was lost to others within the period.

Specifically, with 28,059 employed by 29 companies in 2013, 17,453 workers were retained by 16 companies as 13 companies shut down or relocated outside the country.

Speaking at the association’s annual general meeting in Lagos at the weekend, Anegbe, while bemoaning the state of the nation’s economy lamented that the manufacturing sector is yet to feel the ease of going business policy.

Anegbe said, “It is obvious that the impact of absorbing the cost of the revised duty would be overwhelming on current players in the industry. The development will no doubt reverse some of the growth recorded by the food, beverages and tobacco sub-sector. 

“In 2017, the sector improved by 8.62 per cent over 2016, recording a growth of 2.35 per cent and outperforming GDP growth”, he said

Anegbe said the manufacturers oppose the increase and the timing, as most players in the sector are just recovering from the negative profitability and revenue contradiction.

“Taxes are withdrawals and the increase in excise duty will reduce margins and could prompt higher unemployment. We strongly hold the view that if the intention of the government is to grow the industries, imposing exorbitant duties on locally manufactured goods is a contradiction of that objective,” he noted.

Anegbe also expressed the association’s worry over the introduction of borehole taxes in Lagos and Ogun states, stressing that Federal government should come to the rescue of manufacturers in the two states by dissuade them from compelling them to pay for providing their own water through boreholes. (DailyTrust)

Source: News Express

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