By Nelson Manneh
Wholesalers, retailers and consumers of Banjul Breweries Ltd. Products, have called on Government to revisit the tax levied on the Company.
The stakeholders who benefit from Banjul Breweries products said Government cannot stop the consumption of alcohol even if it squeezes the Company and force it to shut down; that there are those who import hard drinks into the country.
Many of these wholesalers indicate if the Company shuts down because of tax levied on it, it will seriously affect consumers including hotels, business persons and livelihoods who work either directly or indirectly with the Company or its products.
A wholesaler along Kairaba Avenue in the Kanifing Municipality, said the tax levied on the Company this year, is outrageous and has never happened.
“Banjul Breweries does not produce alcohol alone. They produce other soft drinks too. This should be put into consideration by Government. Forcing the Company to shut down is not the solution to the problem,” he said. Another wholesaler said Government cannot employ all the youth of the country, and should not discourage those who employ them.
Lamin Marong who is a shopkeeper around Senegambia, said if Banjul Breweries is shut down, a lot of businesses will also go down with it; that Banjul Breweries is among the Companies with the highest number of employees; that there are those who work as transporters, wholesalers, retailers and distributors.
Others lamented that locally produced alcohol or liquor, is more dangerous; that beer produced by Banjul Breweries has a low content of alcohol.
Meanwhile, Banjul Breweries management said they continue to wait for Government to react; that if not, they will have no choice but to shut down the Company, because they have been squeezed to shut down their business.
In a similar development, hoteliers around Senegambia, Bijilo and Fajara said if Banjul Breweries is shut down, their businesses will be affected.
“Since alcoholic products especially beer was increased, our businesses started to experience low sales,” they told this reporter.
A Manager in one of the hotels told this reporter that despite the country sustaining itself through tax, Government should not levy such heavy tax on businesses to the extent of forcing them to shut down;
that as at now, they have fewer guests in the hotels and if the season starts without guests, they will not employ many people.
One of the staff who works in one of the hotels in Senegambia, said Banjul Breweries is one of the leading Companies that produce quality beer in the country; that if the Company is shut down, people will have no choice than to drink locally produced alcohol, which is not good for health.
“We will hold Government accountable if this Company stops functioning,” he said.