…Reduction in import duties will reduce transport fares and food prices
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, has revealed the reduction of import duties on some commodities in the finance act 2020 is part of plans by the federal government to curb the rising inflation in the country.
According to Vanguard, the minister disclosed while answering questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday that the approval of the reduction in import duties charged on vehicles is a measure to curb rising inflation as the cost of transportation also has an effect on rising food prices.
Ahmed noted that “Inflation is high at 16.7% and we’ve seen inflation inching up gradually over the last couple of months when you look at the components that constitute inflation in our country, the largest contributor is food inflation and food inflation also if you decouple it, the largest contributor to food inflation is the cost of transport.”
“We now look at how do we reduce the cost of transport because we can’t give every Nigerian money to pay for their transportation fares. ”
We figured that one of the good ways to do it is to increase the acquisition of mass transit vehicles and to reduce the acquisition cost of vehicles and tractors that are used for productive purposes like agriculture.” She, therefore, expressed optimism that the reduction of the import duties on vehicles when fully operational would boost mass transit activities and subsequently reduce transport fares and food prices.
“So the reason why we reduce those duties is to reduce the cost of transportation. ”So, once this implementation takes full effect, we are hoping that we’ll be able to see more tractors coming into the country, more mass transit buses coming to the country, reducing the cost of transportation as a result, and also having an impact on food prices”, she added.
Speaking on the issue of rice smuggling, she said measures had been put in place to monitor and control the situation. According to her, rice smuggling is capable of obliterating the progress made in rice production during the period of the border closure. “We are all concerned as an administration about the smuggling of rice into the Nigerian markets and if this is allowed to continue, it will definitely distort the local production,” she said.