The federal government is carrying out a comprehensive review of tariffs charged on industrial raw materials across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Olusegun Aganga, made this known during the presentation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Lagos last week.
The minister noted that the review would cut across the value chain in all sectors of the nation’s economy.
He said, “We are doing a comprehensive review of the competitiveness of the tariff regime for industrial raw materials across the value chain in all sectors of the economy. The major problem we had many years ago was that when it was fixed, we were not as developed as today in terms of production. We only focused mainly on imports and didn’t focus on all the issues across the value chain.
“If you look at the Information and Communications Technology for example, the tariff for bringing in some finished accessories is lower than for the raw materials and we have it in so many other sectors, including publishing. There is no way we can encourage book publishing locally because most publishers say that it is a lot cheaper for people to import books than producing here in Nigeria. So, we are doing a comprehensive review of all the tariffs across the value chain in all the sectors to make sure that they are very competitive.”
The minister added that the ministry was working with the National Assembly to introduce stiffer penalties against importers of sub-standard products in order to improve the productivity of local manufacturers.
“Part of the strategy is to look at the tariff and the implication on smuggling. In some cases, high tariff is not necessarily the answer when you cannot control smuggling because smuggling does more harm than the high tariff. We are looking at the overall implications and impact of all these to the manufacturing sector in particular and the economy in general,” Aganga said.
?He said that the new memo on the review of the Export Expansion Grant had been submitted to the Federal Executive Council for consideration, adding that more investors had been? showing interest in investing in the nation’s? sugar industry following the approval of the new Sugar Master Plan by the Federal Government.
The minister said, “Following the approval of the new Sugar Master Plan by the Federal Executive Council last year, a lot of investors are showing interest in investing in the sugar sector.? Some investors are already putting together a convincing backward integration plan.
“We are looking into what the tariff will be for those that are still refining sugar but have approved backward integration plan. This issue was discussed at the meeting of the Economic Management Team. We have a position which we are presenting to the President.”
Speaking during the event, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Chief Kola Jamodu, expressed satisfaction with the minister and the Federal Government for initiating and implementing policies and programmes which, he said, had resulted in improved capacity utilisation of the manufacturing sector.
“We want to thank the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr.OlusegunAganga; and President Goodluck Jonathan for their manufacturing – friendly policies and look forward for more of these policies. We are committed to partnering with the government in order to transform the industrial sector and the economy in general,” he noted.