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Gambia among countries with highest tax on beer

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By Omar Bah

The Gambia is being commended for largely complying with the call for high taxes on alcohol to curb its negative health implications on consumers. The country has been ranked 6th with the highest tax rates on beer around the world with a percentage of 50.17% by National Library of Medicine, operated by the US federal government.

According to the body, studies have indicated that there is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests that any alcohol consumption, however moderate, can have negative health consequences example risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and even certain types of cancer.

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Understanding that there is no such thing as risk-free drinking, the World Health Organisation called on the international community to increase taxes on alcoholic beverages to discourage consumption.

The Gambia Government decided to increase the tax on wine and beer by a whopping 75% in 2019, but the decision was later reversed after heavy lobbying  and the tax rates were instead reduced.

The Castel Group-owned Banjul Breweries, the sole beer maker in Gambia, quit operations in the country.

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According to the organisation, at least 148 countries around the world have applied excise taxes on alcoholic beverages at the national level.

Beer is the most consumed alcohol in the world with a market valued at $793.74 billion in 2022, projected to grow from $821.39 billion in 2023 to $1.07 trillion by 2030.

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