Suspension of tariff hike on tobacco saves 165,000 jobs, says NUFBTE

Tobacco

The suspension of the initial plan by the Federal Government to increase excise tariff by more than 500 per cent on spirit, wines and tobacco products saved over 165,000 jobs, the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), has said.

The union said with its intervention and special appeal made to the government to suspend the implementation of the increase, it saved the looming extinction of the affected companies, thereby saving direct and indirect jobs of more than 165,000 Nigerians.

The union however commended President Muhammadu Buhari for creating an enabling environment in the sector, which has brought about effective and efficient union practice and administration among the workers.

It argued that with the sense of urgency and responsiveness of the president in addressing the plight of manufacturers in the sector, there has been direct and indirect promotion of collaborative strategy between the employers and unions, which has brought about relative growth in the sector.

National President of NUFBTE, Lateef Idowu Oyelekan, said the approval granted for moratorium period for local sourcing of tomato paste and vegetable fat made it possible for the concerned manufacturers to effectively embark on aggressive backward integration and locally source their materials at the union’s instance.

On drastic reduction in the importation and smuggling of sector’s products into the country, Oyelekan, who was recently elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the Nigeria Labour Congress for second term tenure said: “The resultant effect of the war has brought about drastic reduction in smuggling and importation of food and beverages items which was at the detriment of high standard of locally produced ones.

“By so doing, the country has been saved millions of dollars lost annually to smuggling activities, thereby protecting local industries and saving jobs of thousands for Nigerians.”

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