In a recent press conference on the 18th of January, 2024, Engineer Opeyemi Olabanji, Chairman of the Gas Nigerian Initiative (GNI), passionately appealed to the Federal Government to expedite the implementation of its groundbreaking directive, granting zero duties on certain imported LPG and specified gas accessories. The urgency stems from the rising costs of LPG in the domestic market, and the call comes amidst claims that relevant agencies are moving at a lethargic pace in executing this vital policy.
On November 28, 2023, the Ministry of Finance issued a letter, green lighting a 100% tax waiver on LPG importation and exempting several gas-related items from VAT and duty payments. This included LPG cylinders, cascades, gas leak detectors, steel pipes, valves, and fittings, dispensers, gas generators, and trucks.
GNI's Plea: Engineer Olabanji expressed concern that despite the Federal Government's directive, the implementation process appears to be sluggish. He emphasized the crucial role these policies play in mitigating the soaring costs of LPG in the market, stressing the impact on businesses and economic growth.
Industry Appeal: The call for prompt action echoes the sentiments of Oladapo Olatunbosun, National President of the Nigerian Association of LPG Marketers, who similarly advocated for the swift execution of the presidential directive issued in November 2023. Both leaders highlight the need for relevant agencies to act promptly in line with the government's policy to alleviate the economic burden on stakeholders.
Customs Response: Olabanji referenced a previous appeal made to the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS), where the agency assured that the delay was not due to reluctance but was contingent on specific preconditions. The NCS spokesperson, Abdullahi Maiwada, outlined the requirement for an approval letter from the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Energy for items to enjoy the tax waiver. Maiwada claimed that circulars had been dispatched to state commands by December 15, 2023, to kickstart the directive's implementation.
GNI's Frustration and Current Situation: Despite efforts by the Gas Nigerian Initiative to push for the directive's implementation, Olabanji lamented the daily demurrage costs incurred on imported cylinders at the nation's seaport. He urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene and expedite the resolution of any lingering issues causing delays in the implementation of the order.
As the Gas Nigerian Initiative amplifies its call for swifter action, the urgency of implementing the zero-duty directive on imported LPG becomes paramount. The economic consequences of delays, as highlighted by industry leaders, underscore the need for seamless collaboration between government agencies to actualize the intended benefits of these pivotal policies. As businesses continue to grapple with daily demurrage costs, stakeholders eagerly await a responsive and swift resolution to ensure the successful execution of the presidential directive.
As entrepreneurs or consumers of LPG, we're eager to hear your insights on the VAT and import duty waivers. Have these measures brought about positive changes, or are we still navigating the familiar status quo? Share your thoughts and experiences.
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Source: Tribune Newspaper.