The Gambia Breweries company potential closure in view of the government’s recently introduced seventy five percent Excise Tax on locally manufactured alcohol beverages on the company, is being reviewed by government, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Information Minister Ebrima Sillah made the disclosure, when contacted for comment on the Julbrew tax debacle.
The Minister of Finance has told me that the tax hike on alcoholic beverages is being reviewed by the Ministry of Finance, following consultation with the Ministries of Trade and Tourism,” Sillah remarked.
Sillah says he would keep the media posted once the matter is finalized.
In another development, Yankuba Darboe, the Director General of The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) said his Department was not responsible for the recent increment imposed on the Banjul Breweries. Darboe says issues relating to tax increment are handled by the Ministry of Finance.
“We are on the operation side. Basically, the responsibility of the rates is a policy matter. So, that lies on the level of the Ministry. So, once a Ministry made a decision, then we do the implementation,” Darboe said.
Basically, the GRA do not make the rates. Even if the situation arises, where want somethings to be adjusted, we have to address that letter before the budget speech to the Ministry; not the GRA making the rates. We do the implementation; we avail advice and then the final decisions and the rest are a policy matter,” he added.
Darboe said parties, who are aggrieved as a result of a given tax increment, should direct their concerns to the relevant authorities.
“At the end of the day, this is a decision from the government. So, once they have an issue with it, what they should do is to make sure that they contact the right officers and considerations might be given to them in due course. You know, a decision cannot be made today by government, the next day it changes. That is not that easy,” the GRA Boss said.
Banjul Breweries says it would be forced to wind down operations if the seventy five percent Excise Tax imposed on the company by the Barrow government is not reduced. The company says it is running on losses in view of the recent tax hikes.
Banjul Breweries is a French owned company. It was formally owned by the Germans.
The company has been operating for the past ten years without making profit. It only started making profit in 2018, according to Borri Darboe, a sales manager at Banjul Breweries.
Banjul Breweries started noticing a massive decline on its financial performance, following the introduction of the seventy five percent Excise Tax imposed on the company by the government back in January of 2019. Darboe says their sales have been on the decline, while the company’s accounts are in the negative.
The Gambia Hotel Association and other stakeholders have vehemently condemned the recent tax hikes. Thousands of people would be sent out of work if the Banjul Breweries closes.
Banjul Breweries says if the government’s move is not rescinded, it would likely going to stop production come on Saturday, or latest on Monday. Some staffers of the company had already been laid off.