The federal government of Nigeria has granted import waivers for medical equipment and supplies to ease the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Special Assistant to the President on digital and new media,Tolu Ogunlesi, saidsaid in a tweet that: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved that import duty is waived for medical equipment and supplies to ‘strengthen health infrastructure’ in response to the #COVID19 pandemic.
“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 tweet read.
The waiver is the latest of the fiscal policies that have been introduced by the federal government to combat the economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing the government’s fiscal response to the pandemic, Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, had said the government would engage other corporates 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,” she said.
“We’ll be giving them import duty waivers, we’ll 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.”
LCCI Seeks One-Year Tax Break For Key Businesses Amid COVID-19
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has canvassed a one-year tax break for key businesses to enable them navigate the storms as well as preserve employments.
The LCCI President, Toki Mabogunje stated on Tuesday during a press briefing that the tax break is desirable in view of the prevailing hardship faced by businesses in the face of the lingering coronavirus pandemic.
Mabogunje stressed that with the COVID-19 induced lockdown in some states, findings show that majority of business owners plan to cut down salaries, downsize the workforce, or have a combination of both.
She maintained that policymakers and the organized private sector need to come together to rescue the economy from collapse at this critical time.
“Businesses therefore request adequate stimulus and intervention to preserve investments and save jobs. More than half (54%) of business owners want banks to reduce interest rate and give moratorium on loans, 29 percent want a reduction in tax liabilities, while 17 percent want waivers on import duties and demurrages.”
The Chamber also proposed; “a year tax break for healthcare & pharmaceutical companies, airlines, manufacturers, agro-processors, SMEs and hospitality players.”
It also called for the temporary suspension of a 50 percent increase in VAT rate till year-end, adding that, “P.A.Y.E should be suspended for the next six months.”
This according to the chamber, would help boost the purchasing power and aggregate demand, thereby stimulating the economy.
For the aviation industry, LCCI asked for support towards augmenting insurance premiums which are dollar-denominated due to lack of local capacity.
LCCI called on the government to focus on the completion of critical infrastructure projects nationwide such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Enugu Airport, the Second Niger Bridge, East-West Road, among others.