‘If Things Remain Unchanged, Banjul Breweries Will Shut Down Production’

Boris DarboeBy Abdoulie John

Banjul Breweries Ltd Country Sale and Marketing Manager, Borri Darboe, has warned that the company will shutdown its production line on May 13 if gov’t fails to reconsider the tax increase on their alcoholic products.

He made this announcement Thursday during an interview with this medium.

As a leading company in the country’s manufacturing industry, Banjul Breweries Limited is established for over 40 years in the tiny West African nation. Its flagship product, Julbrew, has been making waves and is the widely consumed beer in the hotels. However, the 2019 tax levy jump (from 10% to 75%) on domestic produced beer seems to have plagued the market.

Darboe said they have been slapped with a tax increase that is causing more harm than good as their sales are not only declining, but also alcohol wholesalers are complaining that their activity is under threat.

A situation, he went on, that has compelled the company to lay off some of their staffers.He then deplored the fact that the Ministry of Finances and Economic Affairs did not engage them in the discussions that led to the tax increase.

“A company’s existence is threatened and some people are going to lose their job. Something needs to be done to avert any unfortunate incidence,” he said.

Far more disturbing, Darboe said four consecutive missives have been sent to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finances, but Banjul Breweries is yet to get a feedback.

He went further to say that the increase of the tax levied on local beer will affect the tourism industry, noting that a good number of hotels have already been dragged down by a huge decline in their sales.

Since the crisis erupted, he said Banjul Breweries Secretary General,Fatou Sinyan Mergan, has worked tiressly to push for dialogue.

Owned by a consortium of French investors, Darboe disclosed that the Group is present in 28 African countries including neighbouring Senegal.

“Banjul Breweries is the smallest manufacturing plant owned by the French investors,” he said while indicating that their investment started making profits in 2018.

Meanwhile, a leaked letter addressed to the Ministry of Finances and which was obtained by this medium inister of Trade, Amadou Sanneh,warned gov’t from going ahead with the planned tax increase.

“The measure of applied in its current state would adversely affect the local beer companies and the economy at large, as they would force to scale down their operations, reduction of the workforce and a possible shutdown of operation,” reads the letter dated February 25, 2019.


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