EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The national assembly of The Gambia holds its first extra ordinary session in the 2019 legislative year. The first session is scheduled to take place today where the Assembly is expected to revise the excise tax on alcoholic beverages.
It could recalled that sometime in December 2018, the government announced a tax rise in alcoholic beverages from 10% to 75%. According to the main dealers in beverages in The Gambia, Banjul Breweries said it has suffered great loss due to the tax hike. In series of interviews the management of Banjul Breweries says the company has paid 132 million in 2018 at a rate of 10% excise and 15% VAT but noted that from January to April 2019 alone it has paid 97 million dalasis in excise excluding VAT.
The minister of finance and economic affairs Mam bury Njie together with members of parliament will revise the tax increase today, a move long awaited by Gambians and Banjul Breweries in particular.
The minister of Finance will first read what government has for the breweries industry whose main player announced its inability to continue operation as a result of high taxes.
In May, Julbrew observed the annual Workers Day to challenge the increment of taxes on alcohol from 10 to 75 percent. The move led to the laying off of twenty wokers by the company before announcing closure in operation in Banjul.
Sources say that The Ministery of Finance and Economic Affairs is under pressure to bring down tax on alcohol, despite the Gambia being a predominantly tax based.
It is suggested that a key factor behind heightened taxes on hard drinks and tobacco is a move to meet the highly religious population.