Lagos – An economist, Mr Emmanuel Eze, said on Tuesday that the raising of duties on luxury items by the Federal Government was sacrosanct, considering current economic challenges in the country.
Eze, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Perfecta Investment Trust, Lagos told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, that the move was long overdue.
The CEO, who lauded the Federal Government initiative, added that it would enable the government meet its revenue projections.
“Jerking up the duty on luxury items is in order due to the fall in global commodity prices.
“It could be classified as some form of wealth re-distribution, which is like taking from the rich to take care of the generality of the society.
“Besides, it will reposition home-made goods to take advantage of the market space.
“It will enable local manufacturers take over the huge opportunities provided by the tariffs, especially in the automobile industry.
“The duty will create some leverage for foreign companies to partner with indigenous ones in the production of such items, thereby boosting the domestic economy,” he said.
NAN reports that the Federal Government on Dec. 28, 2016, under its new Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) regime, raised duties on some items.
The new rate is contained in a circular by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Importers of yachts and other luxury automobiles such as SUVs, boats, sports cars, and other vessels are now to pay 70 per cent of the value of the vehicles as taxes (duties) to the NCS.
Other major items affected include sugar cane and salt from 10 per cent to 70 per cent; alcoholic spirits, beverages and tobacco from 20 per cent to 60 per cent, and rice from 10 per cent to 60 per cent.
Also included on the list are packaged cement, from 10 per cent to 50 per cent; cotton/ fabric materials, from 35 per cent to 45 per cent, and used cars, popularly known as Tokunbo, from 10 per cent to 35 per cent.
Medicaments such as anti-malaria drugs and antibiotics; palm oil; wheat flour; tomatoes paste, and cassava products are also affected in the upward review of duties.
But essential industrial sector accessories, including bolts, industrial oils and other equipment are to enjoy a downward review, to spur local industrialisation.