The Comptroller of Customs, Hammed Ali while appearing before the Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning, has advised that the Federal Government should lift the tax waivers for soft drink producing companies in the country.
Ali tried justifying his stance by saying that “if companies producing alcoholic beverages and tobacco could pay taxes, those producing soft drinks could do the same”.
He went further stating that “We have been pushing for the expansion of our own excise collection. During the Shonekan regime in 1993, excise duty 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 all 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, then carbonated drink manufacturers should also pay.”
He stipulated that “Customs should generate about N1.2 trillion before the end of the year because it had already generated N830 billion as at the end of July”.
While responding, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan, stated that there was the urgent need to look into why carbonated drink manufacturers do not pay excise duty.
He reiterated that he does not understand why multi national organizations like Coca-cola should not be paying excise duties.