Since the Finance Act 2016 was signed into law, in August 2016, NRA (National Revenue Authority) was not able to collect a single cent as import or excise duty on imported alcoholic beverages like Becks, Codys, Carlsberg, Budweiser, Codys Stout, Guiness and Cider.
Before the Finance Act 2016 was signed into law in August last year, NRA was collecting at least Le15Bn (Fifteen Billion Leones) a month as import or excise duty from importers of alcoholic beverages.
The importers of these foreign products decided to halt all importations because of the sudden hike in import or excise duty since August 2016.
Excise duty on imported alcoholic beverages is one of the sources of revenue for NRA (National Revenue Authority), according to figures seen by the Global Times.
In a letter dated 15th June, 2016 importers of foreign alcoholic beverages warned the Commissioner General of NRA that, “This very high increase in excise duty on imported alcoholic beverages shall add to the suffering of majority of Sierra Leoneans, increase unemployment in the supply chain and result in huge loss of revenue for the Government of Sierra Leone”.
Parliament recently ratified the Finance Act 2017 that seeks to reduce import or excise duty on imported alcoholic beverages.
The Finance Act 2017 is yet to be forwarded to State House for Presidential Assent.
According to the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay, the Finance Act 2017 is yet to be sent to State House because the President was out of the country.
One of the importers of foreign alcoholic beverages assured the Global Times yesterday that, once the Finance Act 2017 is signed into law by the President, the price of imported alcoholic beverages will go down by over fifty percent.
A senior opposition MP told the Global Times last night that, the Finance Act 2017 is “good for the government, good for NRA and good for importers and benders”.
President Koroma reportedly returned to the country yesterday after a State visit to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.