By Adama Makasuba
Banjul Breweries Company Limited has temporarily stopped production of beverages as its officials negotiation with government continues on the tax saga.
Couple of weeks ago, the company laid off 18 workers putting other 150 workers at the risk of losing their jobs as a result of government 75% tax increment on excise duty.
Just last week, both the Information and Finance Minister assured that the sole beverage company of the country wouldn’t shutdown business.
Meanwhile, Mambury Njie, Finance Minister said “the tax on Banjul Breweries is not on all the beverages it is only on alcohol.”
He said: “as far as we are concern up to yesterday they are not closing” adding that the 200 staff workers will not lose their jobs again.
He said his ministry is holding a dialogue with Banjul Breweries Company Limited, adding “government tax was only for the alcohol, it has nothing to do with the other beverages.”
However, the mangers of Banjul Breweries Company Limited have disclosed that they are still awaiting the government to make its decision formal.
Commercial director of the company, Borri Darboe said “the factory has been shut down temporary while they wait on the government to finalist its decision on the tax hike.”
He said the decision will determine the fate of the oldest beverage producing company in the country.
“The government decision whether to reduce the tax levy or not will determine our fate on whether to continue with production or finally close business,” he added.
Mr Darboe said: “on Friday some of our workers were invited by the authority for a meeting and they were asked to come up with a rate at which we want our stuff to be sold. They gave them the proposal and we are now listening to them. If they don’t want to put our demands into consideration, we will shut down the company.”
Banjul Breweries Company Limited is the Gambia’s only brewery and one of the oldest companies in the country and it produces soft drinks, beers.