Lagos – Mr Fitzgerald Umah, the Chairman of Lagos Chapter of Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA), on Thursday appealed to the Federal Government to lift the ban on importation of some luxury goods.
Umah made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that government could increase import duties on these luxury goods, instead of placing a total ban on them.
The NIA chairman said the government should be more concerned about implementing policies that would promote bilateral trade between Nigeria and other countries.
“Theo fact the country wants to encourage local manufacturers to increase local productivity does not imply that total ban will be placed on majority of imported goods,’’ he said.
According to him, the world is changing and it is a global market where international trade is necessary.
He said international trade could be used to enhance economic growth as Nigeria could not live in isolation.
“I do not mean government should allow importation of inferior goods like tooth-pick, plastic, matches, among others.
“But luxury and essential products like floor and wall tiles, furniture, WC toilet system and the likes can be allowed into the country.
“Instead of placing a ban on importation of such goods, the government can rather increase the tariffs on them.
“Tariffs, not only give a price advantage to locally produced products, but can equally serve as a control measure to discourage excessive influx of the goods into country,’’ Umah said.
He said that he was concerned because some of the banned luxury goods were being smuggled into the country in spite of government’s ban and restriction.
“Therefore, it is not a wise decision to ban these goods because they will still be smuggled in and no payment maybe paid to the government and government stands to lose,’’ he said.
The institute chairman said that it would be through tariffs and import duties that the government could be sure of earning some income from importation exercise.