FG denies refusal to grant waivers for drugs import

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Afuwape Gbolabo
The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) through the ministry of finance has denied that it refused to grant import duty waivers to some importers and NGOs for drugs and health commodities imported into the country.
The ministries said there are laid down statutory procedures governing the granting of import duty waivers to importers and NGOs, which are part of holistic measures, put in place to check abuses of the Federal Government’s fiscal incentives, and to put a halt to rampart corrupt practices in the economic sector.
According to statement released by the Special Adviser, Media & Communications, Me. Oluyinka Akintunde, said that the ministry followed Statutory Procedures in granting of Import Duty Waivers.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance has been drawn to attempts by some importers and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to malign the name of the Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and the Ministry over spurious claims of refusing to grant import duty waivers in respect of drugs, health commodities and related equipment donated by the Global Fund.
“The Ministry strongly denies that the Minister has refused to grant import duty waivers to some importers and NGOs for drugs and health commodities imported into the country.
There are laid down statutory procedures governing the granting of import duty waivers to importers and NGOs, which are part of holistic measures put in place to check abuses of the Federal Government’s fiscal incentives, and to put a halt to rampart corrupt practices in the economic sector.
‘‘These procedures include submission of an application by the importer and NGO to the Federal Ministry of Finance, through the Federal Ministry of Health; evidence of registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission; and submission of an approved Memorandum of Understanding duly signed by the Honourable Minister of State, Budget and National Planning between the Donor Agencies, Federal Government of Nigeria and the Recipient-NGOs.
Other requirements include: presentation of a certificate of exemption from tax from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (only for those who engage in non-profit making activities in line with their objectives), submission of a preformats invoice indicating the value of the imported items, bill of laden and if the imported items are donated, the NGOs are required to provide the Federal Ministry of Finance with authenticated letter from the donor agencies.
The statement said, Additional documentation may also be required where the need arises. Meanwhile, some of the applicants referred to in the sponsored write-up being planned for circulation did not submit the required documents for processing import duty waivers requests
The Federal Ministry of Finance had in recent times observed the flagrant abuse of the import duty waivers by some NGOs and importers, who smuggled other imported items into approved waivers issued for the importation of medical equipment and drug related items.
The statement further said that, ‘‘the Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to state that priority and special attention are always accorded requests for import duty waivers for medical equipment and drugs related items. As a matter of fact, 318 concession applications were received and 175 were processed to conclusion from 1st May to 24th November, 2017.

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