Revised excise tax on alcoholic beverages approved

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

After a long debate over the revised excise tax on alcoholic beverages, deputies on Monday finally approved the motion to revise excise tax on alcoholic beverages.

Tabled by the minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Mambury Njie said the motion came in line with Section 149 of the 1997 Constitution which requires the approval of the National Assembly before any tax could be imposed, altered or varied.

Mr. Njie further informed lawmakers that the increment in excise tax on alcoholic beverages was part of the policy proposal imbedded in the Appropriation Bill 2019 that was approved by the National Assembly in December 2018 to be effective 1 January, 2019.

“Unfortunately, the increment on the said excise tax, which was proposed by my ministry in good faith and approved by this august assembly, came with its own challenges and unrealistic for implementation and therefore created and continues to create challenges in the industry.”

According to the Finance minister, the approved new excise tax was in no way an intended target of a specific sector but rather propelled by a growing need to initiate social safety net for the youth – the cream of our society from the negative effects of alcohol abuse due to low price.

Minister Njie explained that the consultations between the Select Committee on Trade of the National Assembly with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the ministry of Trade and The Gambia Revenue Authority resulted in a more broad-based resolution of the matter widely deliberated upon and carefully evaluated.

“For Banjul Breweries, we are talking about 42 years in existence, and I really commend them for creating employment in the country,” he said. “But we need regulation especially the habit of alcohol, because according to statistics, a number of average accidents that occurred are from alcoholic habit, so these are issues that are subjecting to be solved, and in terms of rate, Gambia continues to be the cheapest.”

“I therefore recognize and salute the overwhelming commitment shown by deputies in resolving the challenges associated with the introduction of a new excise tax rates on alcoholic beverages.”

Hon. Saikou Marong, the lawmaker for Latrikunda Sabiji, said as long as “we want to represent our people, let us look at the impact of anything that we are doing.” “If you look at the research done by the Library, they said that Banjul Breweries has 200 staff and due to what is happening they have started reducing some staff.”

Banjul Breweries was here for 42 years, let us put that at the back of our minds but the purpose of government doing this, is to create the conducive environment for the people.

Hon. Majanko Samusa, a nominated member also thanked the Select Committee for a good job.

Author: Njie Baldeh
Source: Picture: Hon. Mambury Njie