Nigerian govt to suspend tariff, import duty on staple foods, pharmaceuticals, others

The Nigerian government has unveiled a plan to bring down inflation in the country through tariff and import duty suspension for food, raw materials for production, pharmaceuticals, inputs for agriculture production and other fiscal measures.

The Minister of Finance, Wale Edun disclosed this in a recent presentation of the proposed Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan, ASAP.

Edun stated that the plan, recently presented to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was designed to end Nigeria’s economic hardship.

This comes as Nigeria’s headline and food inflation increased to 33.69 percent and 40.53 percent, respectively.

The inflation portends unbearable hardship for Nigerians as purchasing power continues to shrink upon rising prices while remaining unchanged.

As a solution, Edun explained that the fiscal measures, when implemented, will take Nigeria out of the woods.

He said the order upon implementation will bring about the suspension of import duty and tariff for staple food items, raw materials and other direct inputs used for manufacturing, inputs for agriculture production, including fertilizers, seedlings, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, poultry feeds, flour and grains.

Similarly, it will authorise millers to import paddy rice at zero duty and Value Added Tax for 6 months.

“The import duty and other tariffs on the following items are hereby suspended for six months: staple food items, raw materials and other direct inputs used for manufacturing, inputs for agriculture production including fertilizers, seedlings, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, poultry feeds, flour and grains.

“Value Added Tax, where applicable, is hereby suspended on the following items for the rest of the year 2024: Basic food items and semi-processed, staple food items such as noodles and raw material inputs for the manufacturing
of food items, electricity and public transportation, agricultural inputs and produce, and pharmaceutical products”,
the document partly reads.

Relaxation of import duty will calm raging inflation in Nigeria – CPPE

Reacting to the proposal, Muda Yusuf, the Director of the Centre for the Promotion of
Private Enterprise said the relaxation of import duty as contained in the ASAP would calm raging inflation in Nigeria.

Muda noted that the plan will address many of the burning economic issues bothering real sector investors.

He urged Tinubu’s government to expedite action in implementing the plan for the progress of Nigeria’s economy.

“The proposed Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan is a laudable proposition coming from the Finance Minister. It addresses many of the burning economic issues bothering real sector investors.

“The plan contains robust and comprehensive fiscal policy measures that stakeholders in the real economy had clamored for over the past year. It addresses the concerns of investors on high interest rates, high cost of cargo clearance at the ports, and high import duty regimes.

“The relaxation of import duties on critical raw materials for manufacturers would calm the raging inflationary pressures in the economy, especially food inflation.

“The fiscal measures reflect the responsiveness of the administration to the concerns of investors in the real economy. We urge for expeditious implementation of the plan, once approved by the president,” he said.

Minimum wage negotiation

The government economic proposal, known as ASAP, comes amid the new minimum wage discussion that has taken center stage in Nigeria in recent times.

On Monday, the Organised Labour shut down the Nigerian economy because the government failed to implement a new Minimum wage.

However, the strike was suspended on Tuesday after the workers secured a commitment from the government to pay a minimum wage higher than N60,000.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had earlier proposed N494,000 as a new minimum wage.

It was learnt that the Government and the Organised labour has resumed negotiation on the new minimum wage.

Meanwhile, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu at Tuesday’s plenary proposed between N75,000 and 90,000 as the new minimum wage.

Earlier, Paul Alaje, Chief Economist and Partner at SPM said the minimum wage should be at least N100,000.

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