Recently, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) made a strong plea to the Federal Government, urging a re-evaluation of customs duties imposed on crucial medical and agricultural equipment. Their appeal, which was presented through an open letter to President Bola Tinubu, highlights the necessity for a more thoughtful and flexible approach to duties, especially considering the economic difficulties at hand. In relation to the imposing duties on essential items like firefighting vehicles, ambulances, and medical and agricultural equipment, Frank Ogunojemite, the National President of APFFLON, strongly highlighted the concerns expressed by stakeholders.
To convey these concerns effectively, Ogunojemite penned a letter that not only outlined the worries of the group but also provided a comprehensive understanding of the economic consequences associated with the current duty framework. The APFFLON was taken aback by the present situation wherein indispensable vehicles and medical apparatus are subjected to the same tariffs as extravagant vehicles. Ogunojemite remarked, “At a time when inflation has grossly weakened the purchasing power of the naira and people are finding it difficult to feed individuals and businesses keep shutting down, it is indeed quite amazing that these essential vehicles and medical equipment pay the same duties as luxury vehicles.”
Group proposes tariff reduction for economic relief in these sectors.
Highlighting a noteworthy anomaly, the group introduces a deeper layer of complexity to the ongoing issue. Their emphasis on the preferential treatment accorded to commercial vehicles in contrast to ambulances and agricultural equipment sparks questions about the underlying prioritization rationale. Ogunojemite specifically noted the peculiarity of commercial vehicles enjoying higher priority while being subjected to lower fees. Notably, APFFLON, operating as a maritime advocacy organization, not only pointed out this incongruity but also extended commendation to the Presidency for their unwavering dedication to economic revitalization.
Nonetheless, intending to address the challenges that small and medium-sized business owners face amidst the unforgiving economic conditions, the group presented a tactical economic solution. Reducing customs duties could provide solace to small and medium-sized entrepreneurs across various sectors of the economy, as a palliative effort to alleviate the impact of the challenging economic conditions, as highlighted by Ogunojemite. The heart of the suggestion centers around cutting tariffs on ambulances, medical equipment, and farming machinery.
Decreased duties vital for health, food security, and economic resilience.
Ogunojemite recently stressed that if the government took steps to reduce duties on imports of agricultural products, it would be a major achievement and a sign of their commitment to supporting different sectors of the economy. He pleaded for the relevant departments to evaluate the situation objectively and understand that this step is imperative in the current economic state. Furthermore, he urged that the same consideration be given to medical supplies, as they are vital to the health and well-being of citizens. If these changes were to be implemented, it would be beneficial to both farmers and consumers, and could be a huge step towards reviving the economy.
Sectors like public health and food security are undeniably significant for numerous reasons. They serve as the vital foundation of individuals’ overall well-being. If duties were reduced, it would enable easier availability of crucial medical supplies, thereby establishing a stronger healthcare system. Moreover, diminished tariffs on agricultural imports would invigorate the sector, encouraging eco-friendly farming techniques and tackling food scarcity. Ultimately, these initiatives foster a healthier society and bolster a resilient, independent economy that successfully caters to the pivotal requirements of health and food security.
There is support for economic recovery, business resilience, and growth.
In summary, APFFLON fervently supports a strategic reduction in customs tariffs for essential vehicles and equipment, aligning with a comprehensive strategy to stimulate economic recovery and provide crucial support to businesses facing challenges. The proposal, articulated in a heartfelt letter directed to President Bola Tinubu, urges a meticulous review of the existing duty structure, emphasizing the positive impact such adjustments could have on entrepreneurs and the broader economic landscape. The advocacy underscores the need for a nuanced approach, acknowledging the intricate economic circumstances. By championing this cause, APFFLON seeks to contribute to a more resilient and adaptive economic environment, fostering growth and sustainability for businesses across various sectors.