FG To Suspend Taxes On Food Importation

The federal government has suspended duties, tariffs and taxes on imported food commodities.

In a statement on Monday, Abubakar Kyari, minister of agriculture and food security, said duties, tariffs and taxes on imported maize, husked brown rice, wheat and cowpeas — through land and sea borders — has been suspended.

Kyari said a 150-day duty-free import window for food commodities will be enforced as part of measures to be implemented over the next 180 days to ameliorate food inflation in Nigeria.

He said the measures are part of the accelerated stabilisation and advancement plan recently presented to President Bola Tinubu by the economic management team (EMT) under the Presidential Economic Coordination Council (PECC) constituted by the president in March.

The minister said multiple taxes and levies, infrastructural challenges and “sheer profiteering by marketers and traders” have contributed to rising food prices.

“Over the past several months, we have all been witnesses to the escalating cost of food items in all
parts of the country. There is virtually no food item that has not had its price raised to a level higher
than what a good many Nigerians can afford,” Kyari said.

“The affordability crisis in our food security system has been indexed by the data from the National Bureau of Statistics which by the last count, had put food inflation at 40.66%.

“We have heard the cries of Nigeria over the prices of food items and condiments, with some now describing tomato as gold and proposing a variety of recipes to prepare soups and dishes with some of the overly priced food items.

“What in the past were regarded as common items such as yam, plantain, potato now command excessively high figures and Nigerians are right to wonder how and why things are the way they are.”

OTHER MEASURES TO BE IMPLEMENTED

Kyari said imported food commodities will be subjected to a recommended retail price (RRP).

“I am aware that some good citizens might be concerned of the quality of the would be imported food commodities as it relates to the trending worries around genetic composition of food,” the minister said.

“I am glad to reiterate that the government's position exemplifies standards that would not compromise the safety of the various food items for consumption.”

In addition to the importation by the private sector, Kyari said the government will import 250,000 metric tonnes of wheat and maize.

According to the minister, these imported food commodities in their semi-processed state will target supplies to small-scale processors and millers in the country.

He said the government will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to set a guaranteed minimum price (GMP) and mop up surplus assorted food commodities to restock the national strategic food reserve.

Kyari added that the government will continue to increase production for the 2024/2025 farming cycle.

“The Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee will be
inaugurated on Tuesday, 9th July 2024 with a view to develop and implement policies that prioritise livestock development and ensure alignment with the National Livestock Transformation Plan,” he said.

“Enhancement of Nutrition Security through: the promotion of production of fortified food commodities and offer necessary support to scale up the Home Garden Initiative by the Office of The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He said over the next 14 days, in close collaboration with the presidential food systems coordinating unit
(PFSCU) and the EMT, “we will convene with the respective Agencies to finalize the implementation frameworks”.

“We will ensure that information is publicly available to facilitate the participation of all relevant stakeholders across the country. The PFSCU will manage a dashboard for Mr. President, providing him with direct visibility into these interventions and ensuring accountability,” the minister said.

Kyari assured Nigerians that efforts will be made to diligently implement these crucial policies to secure food for all citizens.

Last updated on July 16th, 2024 at 12:18 am

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