The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has commended the federal government over the increase of excise duty on tobacco products in the newly- approved amendment of excise duty rates which also affects alcohol.

Under the new dispensation, in addition to the existing 20 per cent ad-valorem rate, each stick of cigarette will attract N1 specific rate (N20 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2018, N2 specific rate per stick (N40 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2019 and N2.90k specific rate per stick (N58 per pack of 20 sticks) in 2020.

Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said the approval was given by President Muhammadu Buhari, and would take effect from Monday, June 4, 2018 after a 90-day (three months) grace period to all local manufacturers before the commencement of the new excise duty regime.

The finance minister said the review of the excise duty rates for tobacco and alcohol was necessitated by the need to raise the government’s fiscal revenues and reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related diseases and alcohol abuse.

When implemented, Nigeria’s cumulative specific excise duty rate for tobacco is 23.2 per cent of the price of the most sold brand which is still lower than Algeria, South Africa and The Gambia that have 38.14 per cent, 36.52 per and 30 per cent respectively.

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