The National Association of Nigerian Students (Zone D) has condemned the introduction of excise duty of N10/litre on all non-alcoholic, carbonated and sweetened beverages.
Excise duty is a form of tax imposed on the production, licensing and sale of goods.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had last Wednesday said the new policy was in the Finance Act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 2021.
With the policy, the prices of carbonated drinks may spike across the country.
Reacting, Adegboye Emmanuel Olatunji, Coordinator of NANS (Zone D), in a statement obtained warned that new tax imposed on carbonated drinks would be counter-productive.
Olatunji expressed concerns over the effects of the development on the Nigerian masses.
The statement read, “In the midst of Nigeria’s high inflation rate, depleted foreign reserve, monumental foreign debts, depressive standard of living and frail economic strength of citizens, Nigerians have been condemned to further woes as the Federal Government have chosen to deliberately pile more misery on the hapless citizens by imposing excise duty on carbonated drinks.
“Rather than focusing on how to diminish the myriads of challenges facing the nation, the Federal government in their usual lacklustre decision making process have chosen to further burden the already overburdened Nigerians with another levy and another problem to worry about.
“According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning; Zainab Ahmed, Nigerians now have no choice but to pay additional on every one litre of bottled carbonated drink they purchase.
While it is understandable that the country need to increase her internally generated revenue, it is ludicrous that the method adopted is imposition of duty on an already taxed product.
“While making the announcement earlier this week, Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning; Zainab Ahmed, opined that the levy will “discourage excessive consumption of sugar in beverages which contributes to a number of health conditions including diabetes and obesity.
“On paper, this sounds worthwhile but in practical, it apparently won’t change anything. If the Federal Government expect to achieve decrease in the aforementioned diseases through this policy, then it is not only laughable and ridiculous but also reeks of sheer ignorance and ineptitude.
“For an administration whose major source of finance is foreign loans, one would expect that redundant appointees and underperforming ministers who have done nothing but eat national resources be removed so as to salvage precious billions of naira from going to waste.
“In addition, a holistic means to reduce the cost of governance should also be proffered, adopted and implemented. The above will not only save the country trillions of naira but also reinvigorate our national democracy.
“The South-West leadership of National Association of Nigerian Students under the leadership of Comrade Adegboye Emmanuel Olatunji (TeeJay) hereby vehemently condemn and reject the policy as it is anti-people, anti-democratic, and retrogressive. It contradicts the law of humanity and the law of God. It is not in any way constant with the spirit of fairness and starkly contravene what President Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians while campaigning for our votes.”