Prioritize food, beverage industry, AFBTE implores govt


Chief Patrick Anegbe

The Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) has called on government at all levels to prioritise the food and beverage industry by regular engagement with the sector to discuss its challenges vis-a-vis what the governments can do to enhance their productive capacities because of the sector’s unique relevance to the welfare of the people.

Delivery an address during the 43rd Annual General Meeting of the association in Lagos, its President, Chief Patrick Anegbe, frowned at a situation where member- companies are usually being harassed by local, state and federal authorities over multiple taxation.

According to him, ” Issues concerning some of the activities of federal, state and local governments that we have consistently highlighted at our Annual General Meetings have not changed.

” In many instances, they have assumed unimaginable dimensions, the impact of which have been to the detriment of member- companies. The issues include the penchant of government officials not disposed to following the law. They have also reared their ugly heads in the indiscriminate imposition of taxes and levies, in addition to the disruption of some of our member – companies businesses, sometimes in a most uncivilised manner.”

The Association also decried the deplorable state of infrastructure in the country, saying that this has hampered the growth of the food and beverage industry.

The President said despite the efforts that have been made in the last couple of years to address the problem, Government has unfortunately, not been able to accelerate the pace of development in this critical area. “The gap being experienced has been a major drain on the resources of our member-companies because they have had to fund their required infrastructure. It is even more disheartening that the efforts they have been making have not been recognised by the tax and other authorities such that some relief is given for the expenses these companies have been incurring in the face of the government’s inability to adequately provide them. The result is that businesses have continued to spend huge resources to put in place what normally the Government should be responsible for. The implication is that resources that should be used to expand the businesses are deployed to address the inadequacies that the various taxes paid should normally take charge of. This situation needs to change if we are desirous of optimising our productive capacity as a country.
He also lamented the deplorable security situation in the country and urged the government to brace up to provide solutions to the challenge. “The absence of peace and stability have had their toll on investments in Nigeria. This is evident from the poor inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) over the last couple of years .These developments have also impacted negatively on economic growth especially with respect to agriculture, the product of which form part of the raw materials for businesses in our sector. Employment generation and market expansion among others have also been affected negatively.” he added.

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