The Federal Government has announced a review of the Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) for the Implementation of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) 2022-2026, thereby raising tariffs on the importation of wheat, alcohol, rice and several other items.
The new Fiscal Policy Measures (FPM) were communicated through a circular dated April 20, 2023, and signed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
The items were contained in a document Titled: ‘Revised Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) for Implementation of ECOWAS CET (2022-2026), 2023 Fiscal Policy Measures’.
The 2023 FPM raised the tariff on rice packing of more than 5kg or in bulk and packing of 5kg or less to 60 percent from 50 percent.
Similarly, importation of wheat or meslin flour now attracts 70 percent tariffs as against 50 in 2022-2026 ECOWAS CET.
The document reads: “This is to confirm that His Excellency, Mr. President has approved for the implementation of the 2023 fiscal measures made up of Supplementary Protection Measures (SPMs) for the implementation of ECOWAS Common External Tariff 2022-2026 and revised excise duty rate on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tobacco products as well as introduction of excise duty on Single Use Plastics (SUPs).”
Ahmed had, in 2022, issued a circular communicating that President Buhari has approved the implementation of the 2022 Fiscal Policy Measures, which comprise Supplementary Protection Measures (SPM) for the enforcement of the Economic Community of West Africa States Common External Tariff (ECOWAS CET) 2022 – 2026, and excise duties on goods such as non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and tobacco products, and telecommunication services with effect from 1 April 2022.
CET is the application of the same customs duties, import quotas and preferences by a group of countries in a customs union. The said import duties, quotas and preferences are applicable to goods entering the region of the customs union irrespective of the country of first entry of the goods.
The Common External Tariff is one of the principal instruments for harmonising ECOWAS member states and strengthening their common market.
“The national list consisting of items with import duty reduction to promote and stimulate growth in critical sectors of the economy shall continue to form Chapter 99 in the ECOWAS Common External Tariff to be implemented by Nigeria. The concessionary import duty under the new Chapter 99 will only be accessible to verifiable investors/manufacturers, who require them as inputs for production.
“A grace period of 90 days, commencing from May 1, 2023, shall be granted to all importers, who had opened Form ‘M’ and must have entered into irrevocable trade agreement before the coming into effect of this circular, to process and clear their goods at the prevailing duty rates. However, any new import transaction entered from May 1, 2023, shall be subjected to the new import duty regime.
“The revised excise duty rate on alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, in line with existing excise regime implementation period, shall take effect from June 1, 2023, and reviewed upwards in line with the new regime by June 1, 2024. The excise duty on Single Use Plastics (SUP) shall also take effect from June 1, 2023,” the memo stated.