By Adama Makasuba and Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The Gambia’s only Beer Brewery, Banjul Breweries, has announced that it has lost 13 million dalasis in May as a result of the government’s 75 percent excise tax on beer. Speaking to Gainako in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Borri Darboe, commercial manager of the beverage company said “we have lost almost D13 million dalasis in May.”
He renewed his appeal to the Gambia government to revisit their tax policy saying that “we are paying almost fourteen different types of taxes to government.” Mr Darboe explained how his company paid D115 million dalasis in taxes to the government from January to April this year.
“My volume is really going down because in May instead of government receiving D16.6 million of tax they would relieved D7.1 million from us this shows that we are dropping,” adding that the company paid D4.6 millions as value added tax for May.
“Therefore, government will receive D 7.1 million instead of D16.6 million”
He called on members of the National Assembly to do something about the tax increment. Banjul Breweries being the only beer brewery in The Gambia faced serious financial difficulties after the government’s beer tax increased from 10% to 75% tax in January 2019.
The company has so far terminated the contracts of 18 staff with another 25 staff on the verge losing their jobs, leaving 125 staff in limbo.
In reaction to public outcry the Gambia Government made an announcement promising that none of Banjul Breweries staff will be laid off. However, the government doesn’t seem to be tackling the issue. The reality is that Banjul Breweries may shut down soon if urgent action is not taken to cut down on tax.
Speaking at a press conference for the Ministry of Tourism, the Information Minister, Hon. Ebrima Sillah announced that “so far all is well and positive. I have also personally reached out to the management of Banjul Breweries through a certain Mr Darboe just to reassure him of the dynamics that are going on and the negotiations and the review. Hopefully before midweek a decision will be conveyed to the public and also to Banjul breweries.”
“We believe that no-one will be laid off”
Promising government intervention the Minister said that “we believe that no-one will be laid off attributed as a result of the purported difficulties they are going on right now as a result of this tax hike. I just want to inform the press about that just in case you are still in doubt about what is going on regarding this issue of Banjul Breweries and the tax hike on alcoholic beverages.”
According to statistics released by the Gambia’s Bureau of Statistic, the country’s youth unemployment rate is 41.5 percent.