management and staff of Banjul Breweries on Monday protested over the government’s
decision to increase to 75% tax on alcohol.
The move also affected sugary drinks too.
Breweries recently terminated the services of dozens of its staff as a result
of the 75% upward tax adjustment from the government.
According to records, the brewery’s tax contributions averaged 120 million dalasis in 2017.
Protesters hold the view that their rights will be affected if government does not give up their tax hike.
Peter Mendy, the accountant at Banjul Breweries explained that the government’s decision to increase one fraction of the tax doesn’t make sense.
“The company is now battling with 9% and out of the 9%, we have to pay holding tax and the French benefit tax. With all these, the company will not gain anything but rather pay all benefit to the government. The government used to have 10% share from the company, which they sold and now is totally owned by foreign investors,” he added.
He said the government is frustrating foreign investors and in that, they will lose in getting revenues and increase unemployment.
He added that no religion promotes alcohol but the tribe he came from uses alcohol for traditional matters to cure and keep them happy. He added that if the production of alcohol is shutdown, the government is denying them their rights.
Alagie Cessay, the Brewery’s union president explained that the tax increment has affected them because the company has already lain off 18 staff.
“We want the government to help us lower down the tax because without that, we will lose our jobs, which is not good for us, our families and for the national development.”
He said the government is responsible of creating jobs for the youths and if the company is closed, they will be jobless and it may be dangerous.
Sutay Jadama, the production manager stated that their alcohol volume is 4.7% which cannot destroy anybody’s mentality.
“When people in the streets say that our alcohol is destroying the youths, it’s not true because our product cannot harm anybody. We have other alcohol in the shops that can harm and the government doesn’t speak about that, so why are they conditioning us,” he quizzed.