The Federal Government is reportedly considering a plan to suspend import duties on essential items such as staple foods, drugs, and other necessities for an initial period of six months as a measure to combat inflation.

The proposed Executive Order, titled “Inflation Reduction and Price Stability (Fiscal Policy Measures) Order 2024,” is expected to be issued by the President. Although the document has not yet been signed, it outlines intentions to waive levies on items including fertilizers, poultry feed, flour, and grains.

Furthermore, the order aims to facilitate low-interest loans to the agriculture, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing sectors through the collaboration of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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The document specifies the suspension of import duties and tariffs on staple food items, raw materials for manufacturing, agricultural inputs, pharmaceutical products, poultry feeds, flour, and grains for six months.

Additionally, the President is expected to suspend Value-Added Tax (VAT) on Automotive Gas Oil, select basic food items, semi-processed staple foods like noodles and pasta, raw materials for food item manufacturing, electricity, public transportation, agricultural inputs and produce, and pharmaceutical products for the remainder of the year.

Moreover, the proposed plan includes the suspension of various taxes and levies for six months, such as road haulage tax, transportation-related charges, and fees on bicycles, trucks, canoes, wheelbarrows, and carts.

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The government’s Accelerated Stabilisation and Advancement Plan report suggests the importation of paddy rice and maize to address the escalating food inflation across the nation.

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The plan seems to be at odds with earlier statements by Tinubu, who emphasized self-sufficiency in food production rather than reliance on imports.

The looming food crisis in Nigeria has pushed food prices to alarming levels, with rice prices alone increasing by 169% in the past year.

In an effort to reduce pressure on the naira, the proposed executive order also calls for the discontinuation of payment of taxes and levies in foreign currency and emphasizes the patronage of Made in Nigeria goods and services by all levels of government.

Commenting on the plan, Dr. Muda Yusuf of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise praised its potential to address pressing economic issues affecting investors in the real sector.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government anticipates borrowing an additional N7.24tn in 2024 to fund its economic intervention plan, on top of the already planned borrowing of N9.18tn to cover deficits for the year.

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