By Dipo Olowookere
Import duties on consumables like rice, salt and sugarcane have been raised by the Federal Government as part of efforts to grow local production of these commodities.
Also affected are luxury goods such as yachts, boats and Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) imported into the country.
In a circular to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, it was disclosed that import duties on some of these items should now attract about 70 percent of their values.
“This is to confirm that Mr President has approved the 2016 fiscal policy measures made up of the Supplementary Protection Measures (SPM) for implementation together with the ECOWAS CET 2015 – 2019 with effect from 17th October, 2016.
“Consequently, all transactions prior to the effective date of this circular shall be subjected to the tariff rates applicable before the coming into effect of this 2016 fiscal policy measures,” the circular read in part.
Before now, only 10 to 20 percent were paid by importers as duties on the affected commodities.
Business Post gathered that sugarcane and salt, which hitherto attracts 10 percent as import duty, now goes for 70 percent, while alcoholic spirit, beverages and tobacco is now 60 percent from 20 percent and rice from 10 percent to 60 percent.
In the same vein, packaged cement moved from 10 percent to 50 percent; cotton/fabrics materials, from 35 percent to 45 percent; and used cars popular known as Tokunbo, from 10 percent to 35 percent.
However, essential industrial sector accessories, including bolt, industrial oil and other equipment are to enjoy a downward review to spur local industrialisation.
It would be recalled that the plan to raise the duties, which was first contemplated by former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala under the immediate past administration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, had remained on the drawing board due to Mr Jonathan’s loss of the presidential election to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the consequent change of officials between the former administration and the current one.
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