TRADE FACILITATION ISSUES: IMPORTATION

1. PALLETIZATION

The Federal Government through the ministry of Finance released a Circular No.: F195600/TR/IG/I/174 of 11th April 2017 on Revised Import Guidelines, Procedures and Documentation requirements under the Destination Inspection Scheme (DIS) in Nigeria, advised all importers of both finished and imported raw materials to result to using pallets to pack their consignments before shipment to Nigeria.

This initial communication generated a lot of pretest particularly form manufacturers who viewed this palletization policy as ill-timed and as a way of increasing their cost which the sector is already burdened with.

Consequent upon this, there were several stakeholders meetings where members emphasized area where the policy is not advantageous to the sector.

Going forward, the leadership in MAN lead by the President, Dr. Frank S. U. Jacobs (MON), took the issue straight to the highest level of government with first a letter written to the Hon Ministers of Finance and Industry Trade and Investment to advocate unbehalf of the majority of members who do not agree with government on the implementation criteria of the policy. Similarly, audience was sought with the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibajo on the same issue.

In responds to all these, government re-issued another circular under Ref No. F194600/TR/IG/I/282 on 22nd December, 2017 , which is an addendum to the earlier circular issued in April 2017 which stakeholders felt did not addressed their concerns.

On the basis of this, MAN intensified its lobby to government which finally yielded in another circular issued on the 12th of February, 2018. The Circular as it stands took note of some of the concerns of stakeholders but cleverly indicated that Government still want to implement palletization as far as importation of raw materials or finished goods are concerned.

2. GOVERNMENT POLICY ON REMOVAL OF SOME ITEMS FROM PROHIBITION LIST

MAN has recently discussed with government on the need to retain some items on the Prohibition List. This came from the background information coming from the Fiscal Policy Authorities which are tinkering with the possibility of removing four items namely Soap and Detergent, Used Shoes, Suite Cases and Bags, and Used Compressors and Refrigerators, which were hitherto on Prohibition List by government.

MAN in a quick response to the looming problem consulted widely with members and got members mandate to reject the proposal and ensure that those items remain on the List. As usual, the issue was taken to the Fiscal Authorities particularly the Technical Tariff Committee (TTC) where government has accepted to reconsider its position before the release of the 2018 Fiscal Policy Guidelines.