An Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has requested for an increase in import duty to 120%. This follows a recent announcement by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun , in a circular to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) two weeks ago, that import duty on tobacco would increase from 20 per cent to 60 per cent.
In reaction to the announcement, the Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi asserted that the increase fell short and should be higher that 60%:
“We commend the listing of tobacco among luxury goods deserving higher duties. We however feel that the measure falls short of what is needed to reduce consumption of tobacco products instead it further cushions the local environment for production and consumption
“We have consistently urged government to look the way of special levies, high excise and high duties on tobacco products, only a consolidated tax regime and the complete removal of all incentives and grants could end the indirect subsidy on smoking by the Nigerian government.”
Oluwafemi also explained that government decision to exempt local tobacco makers from the high taxes or levies ‘is an indication of disconnect between the Ministries of Finance and Health and would be counter-productive as other tobacco companies would start considering building new factories in Nigeria to produce their lethal products to worsen the current health burden of the nation’.