In June 2018, Nigeria introduced a new tax regime on tobacco products. In addition to the present 20% ad valorem excise duty charged on locally produced goods, tobacco products will now attract a specific duty of ₦20 per pack, which will rise to ₦40 and ₦58 in 2019 and 2020 respectively. Given government’s decision to adopt tobacco taxation as part of broader tobacco control measures, we examine the potential impacts of this new policy as well as other recommended changes in the tobacco tax levels.
Policy Brief & Alerts
Recent data on Nigerias labour market points to a rise in the rate of unemployment and underemployment in 2015Q4. Specifically, compared to 2015Q3, the rate of unemployment and underemployment rose to 10.4 per cent and 18.7 per cent from 9.9 percent and 17.4 percent respectively. These statistics however masks the true situation of the youth employment in Nigeria. Disaggregated data by age category shows that unemployment and underemployment within the youth age category (15-24) was remarkably higher than the national average, at 19 and 34.5 per cent respectively.
A recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) at the subnational level decreased slightly between 2014 and 2015. Specifically, the report shows that on the average, the IGR of all 36 states declined by 3.6 per cent from N707.9 billion in 2014 to N683.6 billion in 20157. A further disaggregation reveals that while IGR in 11 states improved in 2015 compared to 2014, IGR in 24 states were below their 2014 levels. As expected, Lagos state generated the most IGR during the period. Given that domestic resource mobilization is the most viable alternative to complement the shortfalls (driven by lower oil prices) in budgetary allocations to states from the federal government, state governments need to do more to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of revenue collection.
The naira/dollar exchange rate remained largely stable at the parallel market at ?320/$ during the period7, albeit slight fluctuations on February 29, 2016 (?325/$) and March 2, 2016 (?328/$). The decline in the hoarding of foreign currency as well as the substantial reduction in the speculative demand for dollars were the two key factors responsible for the ease of fluctuations in the forex market8. With the slight increase in the price of crude oil, Nigerias foreign reserve slightly grew by $56 million, from 27.81 billion to $27.84 billion9. With the continued increase in the price of crude oil, a modest build-up of foreign reserve to guard against unfavourable commodity price movements is expected in the near term.