#COVID-19: Customs revenue dip as Buhari grants duty waivers on medical equipment 

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#COVID-19: Customs revenue dip as Buhari grants duty waivers on medical equipment 

Abiola Seun

The ability of the Nigeria Customs Service to meet its revised revenue target of over N900billion  for the year 2020 was further emasculated when President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, approved duty waiver for all imported medical supplies.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already put a huge check on the 2020 revenue target of the Nigeria Customs Service as trade slowed globally.

As pressure mounts at the port, operators are focusing mainly on essential goods, such as medicals and foods. Medical supplies make up over 40 percent of goods being released at the port currently.

Now, with the duty waiver for such goods, Customs revenue would dip by about 40 percent, further pushing the service away from its revenue target for the year.

Tolu Ogunlesi, special assistant to the President on digital and new media, announced on Twitter, Tuesday that Mr President had approved that import duty is waived for medical equipment and supplies to “strengthen health infrastructure” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ogunlesi tweeted, “BREAKING | Minister of @FinMinNigeria: President @MBuhari has approved a blanket waiver of import duties for medical equipment and supplies, as part of @NigeriaGov’s efforts to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the #COVID19 pandemic.”

The Nigerian government had earlier hinted of list of fiscal policies that have been introduced by the federal government to combat the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures included waiver of import duties for certain importations.

Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, said the government would engage other corporate Organisation to know what they want the most.

“We don’t want to go and say that we are reducing taxes for companies. Some of the companies, for example, the pharmaceutical industry, what they would want is fast track processes to bring in materials to produce more drugs.

“We’ll be giving them import duty waivers, we will be giving them support to air freight their cargo because supply chains are broken across the world, there is a need to fast track import of materials that are needed to produce drugs within the country so we have to have those engagements to be more specific,” the minister said.

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