Information Minister Says Banjul Breweries Will Not Shut Down
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah has given assurance on behalf of the government that Banjul Breweries Ltd. will not shut down.
His assurance came less than a week after the brewer had threatened to shut down operations unless the government responded to its request for dialogue over the controversial excise tax policy before the end of Saturday.
Banjul Breweries has been at loggerheads with the government over the new policy which hikes excise tax from 10 to 75 percent. According to official records, the company made a tax payment of D132m for the whole of last year. But under the new tax system, it has already paid D97million just from January to April. The Sales and Marketing Manager Borry Darboe last week told The Chronicle that the policy was discriminatory, alleging that the company was not engaged by the authorities before it came into force.
Minister Sillah told journalists Friday that the government had listened to the concerns of the company and the public.
“I can tell you that government has listened and engaged. I want to believe that contrary to what have been said, Banjul Breweries will not close on Saturday. Personally I have reached out to the manager Mr. Darboe and assured him of government’s commitment to bring this to a closure soonest.”
“I don’t want to give any specific timeline but before the end of next week a decision will be taken,” Sillah said.
He announced that an inter-ministerial committee has been set up to amicably solve the deadlock.
Banjul Breweries recently terminated the services of 18 staff and was planning to fire many more staff due to the tax hike.