05 Jan

Daily Watch – New import duty list available, FG insists on national airline

  • The National Bureau of Statistics released its quarterly job creation survey for Q2 and Q3 2016, highlighting a constant decline in public sector jobs on offer. With 155,444 new (net) jobs recorded in Q2, the bulk of jobs (67.9%) came from the informal sector. However, there was a 20% quarterly increase in Q3, as 187,226 new jobs were created. As was the case in the previous quarter, the bulk of the new jobs came from the informal sector (77.3%). But the public sector again reported a negative growth (-7,012), reflecting the impact of falling oil prices last year on the government, stunting job creation and in some instances making it impossible.
  • In a bid to promote development in critical sectors of the economy, the FG has approved a reduction in the import duties of 115 items. The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun said the move was in line with the provisions of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff. The ECOWAS CET, which will cover the 2017 to 2019 fiscal periods, is composed of three categories made up of an Import Adjustment Tax list of 173 tariff lines, a national list consisting of 91 items and an import prohibition list, which is applicable to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS member states. The ECOWAS list, which contains 173 items, shows that the FG has given approval for the reduction of 26 of them, while it left the tariffs on 144 items unchanged. However, the tariffs on three items contained in the import adjustment tax list were reviewed upwards. The national list, consisting of 91 products, showed a downward review was approved for 89 items in order to encourage development in the real sector of the economy. The items in the national list whose import duties were reduced from ten percent to five percent are milk and cream; tea; fats of sheep or goat; malt extract; tomatoes prepared or preserved by vinegar; under natured ethyl alcohol for medical, pharmaceutical or scientific purpose; petroleum oils and oils obtained from bitumen minerals other than crude. Others are hypochlorites; synthetic organic colouring matter; grease for treatment of textile materials; prepared glues and adhesives; activated carbon; picking preparations for metal surfaces; organic composite solvents and thinners; mixes alkylbenzenes; and industrial monocarboxylic fatty acids. Also, the FG approved a reduction from ten percent to five percent for tubes, pipes, hoses, sheets, foil, tape, polyethylene, paper and paper board, yarn, synthetic staple fibres, semi-finished products of iron or non-alloy steel, stranded wire ropes, and completely knocked down or unassembled for the assembly industry. For items such as automatic circuit breakers, switches, lamp-holders, electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, the FG gave an approval for the reduction of their import duties from twenty percent to ten percent. For machineries and equipment used in sectors such as agriculture, cement, hospitality, power, iron and steel, solid minerals, textile and aviation, the FG approved a zero import duty, down from five percent. However, the FG also reinforced the ban placed on the importation of some items. Some of them are refined vegetable oil, cocoa butter, spaghetti/noodles, fruit juice in retail packs, bagged cement, soaps and detergent, mosquito repellent coils, corrugated paper and paper boards, telephone recharge cards and vouchers, carpets and rugs, all types of footwear, bags and suitcases, and used motor vehicles above 15 years from year of manufacture; live or dead birds, waters, liquid dietary supplements and medicament such as paracetamol tablets and syrup, chloroquine tablets and syrup, among others.
  • Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, has confirmed that arrangements are underway for Nigeria to have a new national carrier by the end of 2017. In order to avoid the airline ending like previous national carriers Nigeria Airways and Virgin Nigeria which both folded up, the government will have a very minute stake in the airline. Sirika said that the national carrier was a necessity due to the large market of over 180 million in Nigeria and other markets in Africa. Nigeria’s previous national carrier was the Nigeria Airways, wholly owned by the government and founded in 1958 after the dissolution of West African Airways Corporation, but it ceased operations in 2003.
  • The Punch reports that petrol marketers are anticipating an increase in the pump price of petrol. This is as a result of the recent upturn in global crude oil prices that had forced several countries, including Mexico and the United Kingdom, to increase the pump prices of petroleum products. Quoting industry sources, the newspaper says that the increased landing cost had further hampered the marketers’ ability to import products amid persistent foreign exchange scarcity. The landing cost of petrol has risen above ₦200 per litre. An official of the PPPRA told the newspaper that almost all the marketers were getting petrol from the NNPC.