New ECOWAS tariff could improve Nigerian economy, says comptroller

lagosECOWAStariff-ClaudioNapoli-flickrThe newly-introduced ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) is expected to boost the Nigerian economy, according to Comptroller Zakare Jubrin

Jubrin, who heads the Tincan Island Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), feels that the West African nation stands to benefit from the CET, which was approved by the government earlier this month.

According to the new tariff system, all imports arriving in Nigeria will be subjected to the rates contained in the CET 2015-2019 and 2015 Fiscal Measures, without recourse to the rates applicable before the coming into effect of the ECOWAS CET 2015-2019, said Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.

The approved SPM/Fiscal Policy Measures comprise the Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) list, which involves additional taxes on 177 tariff lines of the ECOWAS CET, a national list consisting of items whose import duty rates have been reviewed to encourage more development in strategic sectors of the economy and an Import Prohibition List (trade), applicable only to certain goods originating from non-ECOWAS countries.

The Comptroller-General of Customs Alhaji Dikko Inde Abdullahi has directed immediate enforcement of the tariff provisions by all Customs Area Controllers (CACs). He urged all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the new ECOWAS tariff to enhance trade facilitation within and outside the region.

Nigeria, considered among the fastest growing economies of Africa, would benefit from the new rules, said Jubrin. Aside from increasing revenue, the CET would promote national productivity and industrial growth for ECOWAS member countries, leading to reduced customs duties on raw materials for various industries.

Additionally, it would also enhance trade facilitation within the sub-region, and would pave the way for improvement in implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS), added Jubrin.

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