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Senate seeks 35% rise for import duty on soap noodles

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Senator Ahmad Lawan

The Senate yesterday charged the Federal Government to revert to 35 per cent import duty on the importation of soap noodles to protect the local industry and the nation’s economy.

Senate’s position resulted from the adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Barau Jibril tagged: Urgent Need To Review The Import Duty Of Soap Noodles.

Federal Government recently reviewed downward the import duty from 35 per cent to 10 per cent.

Senate also frowned on the annual spending of $900 billion on importation of palm oil, stemming from a disclosure by Senate Majority Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu, that Nigeria was spending that much because bureaucrats were gaining from it.

The upper legislative chamber argued that the increase in import duty of soap noodles made it unprofitable for manufacturers to import them from overseas.

It also expressed the view that the increment made the manufacturers to resort to setting up manufacturing lines to produce soap noodles with over N420 billion, while creating 250, 000 jobs in the country.

It further argued that the downward review would lead to massive importation of soap noodles into the country, thereby having negative impact on the nation’s economy.

Kalu also revealed that some importers were bringing groundnuts into the country, which he said, should be discouraged in the interest of local farmers.

“I think this motion should be bipartisan. From 2017 to date, our production capacity has been increasing. We need to go back to the Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Customs Service to know why the import duty was dropped.

“The motion should be kept at bay. We need to return to the ministry and know what they have done. Many industries are importing groundnuts. Industries can’t operate because of so many things happening.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said, when constituted, the standing Committee on Trade and Investment, would work out modalities to ensure that industries create jobs for Nigerian youths.

“As a nation, we can’t but protect our industries. I believe that fiscal and monetary policies should favour our local industries,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawan yesterday said the country could not withstand any industrial action capable of crippling the economic activities at this point.

He, therefore, appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve the proposed strike over delay in implementation of the N30, 000 minimum wage.

He spoke Wednesday when the executive of the NLC and Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN) led by Ayuba Waba and Sunday Sabiyi visited him in Abuja.


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