By Nasir Kura
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday approved approved the introduction of new import levy of 0.2 percent in order to help the country sustain its subscription with the international organisations like the World Bank and African Union (AU) among others.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the extraordinary meeting of the council at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“Council approved a rate of 0.2 percent as a new import levy on Cost, Insurance and Freight-CIF that will be charged on imports coming into Nigeria,” she said.
The minister said the law does not apply to all kinds of imports as there are exceptions.
“The exceptions include goods originating from outside the territory of member countries of the AU that are coming into Nigeria for consumption. It also includes goods that are coming in for aid and also it includes goods that are originating from non-member countries but are imported through specific financing agreements that ask for such kind of exemptions. It also exempts goods that have been ordered and are under importation process before the scheme is announced into effect,” she said.
She said the purpose of the new levy is to enable the African Union member countries to pay their subscriptions on a sustainable basis to the AU.
“Knowing that what will accrue from this new levy will be more that what is required as subscription to the AU, the balance will be ring fenced and put in a special account and be used to finance our subscriptions in multi-lateral organisations such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and institutions like that and still if there is any excess form that, it will be used to fiancé the budget,” she said.
The minister said the council also approved introduction of a single window to coordinate all the operations of government agencies that are involved in port activities.
“The second approval was the setting up of the steering committee to be chaired by the Vice President for the design and implementation of a national single window. The national single window is a web portal that would be able to integrate all the government agencies that are operators that are implementers in the port business or trading in the port system. The trading platform will enable better efficiency of port operations and we project that it will significantly increase government revenues,” she said.
She said the council also approved an extension of Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention that would be used to continue to support the power sector, specifically the generation arm of the sector.
“This is based on a commitment that we signed into as a country, where we have several guarantees to the Generation Companies (GenCos) to bridge any gap that they have after the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) has settled them,” she said.
Also speaking, Minister of Budget and National Planning Mr Udoma Udo Udoma said council was briefed on the first quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
He said the GDP indicated continuing economic growth, adding that the economy recorded a real GDP growth of 2.01 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.
He said the growth reflected the strongest first quarter performance in GDP since 2015—a development which he said pleased the council.