FG plans import levy to finance AfDB, W’Bank obligations

The Federal Government has initiated plans to introduce O.5 per cent levy on imported goods to raise funds to meet its obligations to the African Development Bank, the World Bank and other multilateral organisations.

This is contained in a document titled ‘Invitation to a One Day Public Hearing and Submission of Memoranda on the 2022 Finance Bill,’ released by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

The new levy was introduced into the 2022 Finance Bill under Sector 13 for Customs, Excise, Tariff, etc. (Consolidation) Act.

The document read in part, “In addition to extant customs duties and other approved charges, a levy of 0.5 per cent is hereby imposed on all eligible goods imported into Nigeria from outside Africa to finance capital contributions, subscriptions and other financial obligations to the African Union, African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations and other multilateral institutions as may be designated by regulation issued by the minister responsible for finance.”

The government explained in the document that the amendment was essential to ensure certainty and sustainability of funding of the African Union and other key multilateral development institutions, “to bring into effect the Decision of the Outcome of the Retreat of the Assembly of the African Union (Assembly/AU/Dec.605; XXVII), and Federal Executive Council decision”.

This move is part of the government’s efforts to checkmate the country’s rising debt profile.

An Abuja-based economist, Chris Uwadoka, who spoke with our correspondent over the phone on the new levy, said it is a fiscal measure within the government’s capacity.

He said that since the government does not want to fail with its debt obligations, it has to devise measures to ensure it meets these obligations.

While presenting the 2023 appropriation bill to a joint session of the National Assembly recently, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), noted that despite the revenue challenges in the country, the country still consistently met its debt service obligation.

“Despite our revenue challenges, we have consistently met our debt service commitments. Staff salaries and statutory transfers have also been paid as and when due,” Buhari added.