2023 Fiscal Policy Measures: MAN Laments Government’s Inconsistency

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has condemned the increases in Excise tax for 2023 and 2024 as provisioned in the 2023 Fiscal policy.
In a statement signed by the Director General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the Manufacturers’ umbrella body said the increase came as a surprise.
“As a major stakeholder, MAN had actively participated in the deliberations on the proposal and presented various positions from its members across all sectors, especially those directly impacted by the proposed measures.
“From the meeting held with the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the 29th March 2023, MAN representatives were informed that the 2023 proposals on additional Excise tax increases were being stepped down until further consultations on the 2023 Finance Bill.” The statement read.
MAN further disclosed that the Nigeria Customs Service was notified by the Federal Ministry of Finance that the existing Fiscal Policy Measures for 2022 as they relate to Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Products will take effect from 1st June 2023 and 1st June 2024 as approved in the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures roadmap for 2022 to 2024.
The statement read in part, “Based on the above, MAN members had finalized their annual strategies and projections while exporting members had concluded pricing negotiations for orders to the end of the fiscal period, on the strength of the agreed excise roadmap and recent assurance from the fiscal authority.
“The release of the 2023 Fiscal Policy Measures, just over one month to its expected implementation date and the end of the current administration, sends negative signals to the business community locally and internationally with implications for existing and potential investors.
“It is worrisome that the current situation is indicative of inconsistency in Government policy, given that industries that are affected by the excise tax administration, already made 3-year strategic plans based on the agreed calendar as scheduled in the roadmap including domestic and export sales prices, revenue and volume projections, tax burden calculations, etc.
“This in our opinion, may create credibility issues for the country with existing and potential investors, impacting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and the country’s Ease of Doing Business index among other implications.
“It is therefore alarming and concerning that the implementation of 2022 to 2024 approved excise roadmap, as contained in the 2022 Fiscal Policy (which commenced on 1st June 2022) has unfortunately not even been implemented for up to one year before Government decides to ‘shift the goal post’.
“This was done without any consultation on or assessment of the impact of the huge increases, which in some cases are up to 50 per cent on ad valorem and 75 per cent on specific duty rates, over and above the already approved high increases of up to 50 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.
“Ironically, based on data from our members, Government is unlikely to earn more revenue from further excise increases due to a significant decline in sales by companies in the sector, yet the new policy is likely to fuel illicit trade, industry recession, capacity underutilization, layoffs, etc.
“The unilateral action by the Government despite the complaint and persuasion by stakeholders for the fiscal authority to consider the consequence on the industries, businesses and the economy as a whole is quite unfortunate.”
MAN further noted that the new excuse regime from the 2022 fiscal policy has negatively affected its members and the industry thereby creating among other things; “reduced production volumes with its attendant result on a downward trend in capacity utilization;
” Increased illicit trade in some of the affected products; erosion of members’ market share and revenue, especially following the continued devaluation of the Naira against major currencies;
“Inflation and increased security challenges faced around the country; freeze on employment and redundancies in the manufacturing industry;
“Squeezed margins as our members are unable to pass additional costs to consumers by way of higher prices given their eroded income and dwindling purchasing power.”
Besides the mentioned challenges faced in the business environment, MAN also noted that manufacturers have to contend with currency devaluation and increasing inflation resulting in higher costs of production.