The federal government in Nigeria has recently announced that as part of the government’s fiscal policy, a significant reduction in import duties was going to be applied to 115 items with immediate effect. Kemi Adeosun the country’s Finance Minister confirmed that these changes were in compliance with the requirements of the Common External Tariff as laid out by the Economic Community of West African states, and had received the full approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

During her announcement, Kemi Adeosun reiterated to customs and other parties affected that it was essential that these changes were fully implemented and that there was a strict 100% compliance at all times.

Reduced import duties expected to benefit crucial sectors of the economy

A number of the items on the list have now been allocated a zero-import duty, whilst others have seen a reduction in their import duty from either 20% to 10% or 10% to 5%. The items that are now attracting the new zero import duty rate are from sectors such as; agricultural equipment and machinery, hospitality, solid minerals, steel, iron, power, textiles and aviation. Those items affected by the new reduced rates of either 10% or 5% included tea, sheep/goat fats, milks and creams, ethyl alcohol used for medicinal or pharmaceutical purposes and oils extracted from bitumen minerals, with the exception of crude, glues, textiles, aviation and many different types of machinery and equipment used in areas such as cement making and hospitals.

Whilst a number of sectors are benefitting from these import duty reductions, some food items, largely those that have alternatives that can be sourced locally, and luxury goods have been hit with an increase in duties.

During the announcement about the changes, Kemi Adeosun said that the items included on the national list, and therefore affected by the lower import duty rates were intended to “promote and encourage development in critical sectors of the economy”.

The importation ban on some items is also reinforced

During the announcement in which the items affected by the newly reduced import duties were detailed, the list of products currently banned from being imported into the country was also both reiterated and reinforced. The items on the list of banned products include; cocoa butter, soaps and detergents, motor vehicles that are more than 15 years old, footwear, suitcases and other bags, rugs and carpets and some medicines such as paracetamol.