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Nigeria Suspends Import Duties on Food, Drugs to Ease Inflation



In a bid to alleviate the economic hardship faced by Nigerians, the federal government has announced plans to suspend import duties and other tariffs on staple food items, drugs, and other basic commodities for a period of six months.

This decision is contained in an executive order titled “Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measures, etc.) Order, 2024,” signed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The order, which takes effect on May 1, 2024, aims to reduce the burden of inflation on Nigerians by making essential items more affordable. The suspension of import duties and tariffs will apply to staple food items, raw materials and direct inputs used for manufacturing, agricultural inputs, pharmaceutical products, and poultry feeds, flour, and grains.

Additionally, the order authorizes rice millers to import paddy rice at zero duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) for a period of six months to improve local supply and capacity utilization. The government has also suspended VAT on basic food items, semi-processed staple food items, raw material inputs for food manufacturing, electricity, public transportation, agricultural inputs, and pharmaceutical products for the rest of 2024.

To further stimulate economic growth, the government has fixed the exchange rate for import duties and levies at N800 to $1 for a period of six months. The federal government, including the Federal Capital Territory Administration, has been directed to prioritize the implementation of approved capital expenditures on basic infrastructure, such as access roads to farms, solar-powered food storage facilities, irrigation for dry season farming, portable water, and public sanitation.

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The government has also encouraged states and local government councils to adopt this measure, with a minimum of 50% of the incremental revenue accruing to the FCT from PMS subsidy removal and naira flotation earmarked for this purpose. This move is expected to stimulate productivity and improve the lives of Nigerians.

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