Mixed Reactions Trail Alcohol, Tobacco Tariff Hike
By Nedum Noble
The recent increase in tariffs on alcoholic beverages and tobacco by the Federal Government has continued to generate mixed reactions among residents of Anambra State.
The Minister of Finance Mrs. Femi Adeosun, had in March this year, announced that the new tariffs, which would span from 2018 to 2020, was targeted at raising governments revenue as well as reducing the health hazards associated with tobacco related diseases and alcohol.
While some described the increase as a welcome development, others asked government to withdraw the decision.
A manager at one of the major alcohol depots in Awka, Cornelius Eziakor, called on the federal government to rescind their decision as it was already affecting their sales negatively.
“We started feeling the impact of the increase before now. I think the tariff had already taken off before the actual date,” he said.
A habitual smoker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the new tariff would not bar him from smoking.
“I must continue to take sticks of cigarettes even if it costs N1,000,” he said.
A medical expert, Prof. Peter Katchy, who described the new tariff as a step in the right direction, said excessive alcohol and tobacco intake was dangerous to the body, stressing that both commodities were placed under health restrictions all over the world.
He further noted that apart from generating reasonable revenue for the government, the new tariffs would help reduce the intake of both commodities, listing the dangers of their intake to include, heart congestion, tuberculosis, liver and kidney problems, among others.
He called on government to equally beam its searchlight on those that manufacture local gins and all other intoxicants that were dangerous to the body.