The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said yesterday that the Federal Government had lifted the ban on importation of furniture and textile materials into the country.
Comptroller General of Customs, Dikko Abdullahi who disclosed this at the launch of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) in Lagos said under the new CET regime, some items including furniture and textiles had been removed from the prohibition list.
The Federal Government banned the importation of textiles and other fabrics in September 2008.
In a five-year tariff regime released in Abuja on September 25, 2008 by the Director-General of Budget Office, Dr. Bright Okogu, the government said that to ensure full compliance with the new order, it had empowered the Nigeria Customs Service to seize the banned items from dealers and importers. The affected textiles were hollandis, English wax, guinea brocade and other fabrics commonly patronised by Nigerians.
But Abdullahi who was represented at the CET launch yesterday by the Zonal Coordinator in charge of NCS Zone A, Assistant Comptroller General Victor Gbemudu said the items which before the implementation of the new CET were placed on outright ban will now attracts duty.
“If we go through the Common External Tariff, a lot of items has been have been removed from the prohibition list and that is going to be implemented. Furniture, textiles and the rest of them will now pay duty applicable and if we have the Import Adjustment Tax, you pay along with that,” he said.
The Customs boss explained that the inclusion of an Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) which involves additional taxes on 177 tariffs lines of the ECOWAS CET was aimed at protecting the local industries in Nigeria against the influx of foreign made goods.
Speaking on the benefits of the new regime, Abdullahi said it would create consistency in policy thus allowing importers to plan for their importation, as there will not be any change in the trade policy in the sub-region until 2020 when a new CET is expected to be rolled out.
“The ECOWAS Common External Tariff to a large extent also comes with some adjustment for member countries. There are 97 chapters in the CET of which we have 5,899 tariff headings.
“Every member country is entitled to three per cent adjustment which translates into 177 tariff headings so this enables most member countries to protect whatever industries they want to protect like the auto policy, sugar policy,” he said.
Also speaking, Representative of the ECOWAS Commission, Felix Kwake said implementation of the CET will help deepen economic integration in the ECOWAS sub-region and consolidation of the regional market as well as stimulate regional production capacity and investment.
He urged stakeholders to collaborate with the NCS to enable it achieve the objectives of the CET.
Stakeholders present at the meeting called on the Customs management to further sensitize ports operators on the implementation of the CET by making it available on its website.
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