The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed worries over plans to impose excise duty on basic consumer goods.

The Federal Government recently commenced the enforcement of the approved amendment to the excise duty rates for alcoholic beverages, spirits and tobacco in the country.

In a statement signed by the Director-General, LCCI, Mr Muda Yusuf, on Sunday, the chamber expressed worry over the move to extend the new duty regime to several other basic items.

He said, “For instance, the Nigeria Customs Service’s excise duty list on its website is inclusive of many basic and essential products such as soap and detergent, toilet papers, cleansing or facial tissue and spaghetti/noodles.

“These are products consumed largely by ordinary Nigerians. Any imposition of excise duty on these products will further aggravate the poverty situation in the country and undermine the welfare of citizens. Already, poverty incidence is well over 60 per cent in the country.”

Yusuf noted that food inflation remained of great concern in the country. Citing data from the National Bureau of Statistics, he noted that food inflation was 13.45 per cent in May, as against the core inflation of 10.7 per cent, and headline inflation of 11.6 per cent.

He added, “Imposition of excise duty on basic items may aggravate the poverty condition in the country. Soaps and detergents, for instance, are necessities needed to maintain basic hygiene that protect citizens from preventable diseases like diarrhoea, cholera and lower respiratory infections, among others.

“These have significant health and social impacts on Nigerians.”