Nigeria: FEC Expresses Worry Over Rising Cost of Goods

Abuja — ·Deliberates on improving business environment

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, yesterday expressed worry over the rising cost of goods and services in the country.

FEC’s statement came as President Bola Tinubu yesterday mandated the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, as well as the Presidential Council on Fiscal Reform and Tax Policy Review to fast-track their reports and their reviews and come up quickly with their recommendations, so the real sector and the citizens could begin to feel the impact of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She said: “Today (yesterday), Council noted the rising cost of goods and services in the country, as well as the rising cost of doing business in Nigeria and also noted the excitement and optimism of the real sector that the Renewed Hope Agenda will bring a prosperous 2024.

“We deliberated on how we can actually improve the business environment for manufacturers and industrialist. As you’ll recall, the priority of this government is to promote and protect local industries and manufacturers and this will mean that we must do all that is necessary to remove all the roadblocks and bottlenecks impeding or impacting businesses.

“The President has always reiterated that Nigeria is open for business and that there are no more roadblocks. We are removing and we’ve removed these roadblocks and these roadblocks include multiple taxation, multiple levies, customs duties and various levies that are imposed on businesses, infrastructure decay, including power.

“As you’ll recall, the President already set up the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization, as well as the Presidential Council on Fiscal Reform and Tax Policy Review. The Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization was set up in October and the Presidential Council on Fiscal Policy and Tax Review was set up in July 2023.

“The president now mandated that this council must fast-track their reports and their reviews and come up quickly with their recommendations so that the real sector and the citizens can begin to feel the impact of the Renewed Hope Agenda.

“As you will recall, the Presidential Council on Industrial Revitalization includes the following: the Committee on Consumer Credit, Committee on Artisan Certification and Licensing, Committee on Trade Facilitation, Committee on Commodity Exchange, Committee on Mining and Solid Minerals, Committee on Oil and Gas, Creative Economy, Steel and Heavy Industries and now Healthcare has also opted to join the Presidential Council, as well as the Committee on MSMEs.

“FEC noted that when this committee finalizes its review and comes up with its reports, we will be implementing policies that will jumpstart the economy again and see us experiencing a double-digit growth rate in GDP, as well as being on track to achieve the vision of the president to achieve a $1 trillion economy.

“For this to happen, we have been mandated and charged to come up with the resolution from those committees as quickly as possible and when this is implemented, we expect to see more creation of jobs, drop in prices of goods and services, and a total revival of the economy and we assured FEC that we will do all that is necessary to come up with the resolution as quickly as possible so that Nigerians can begin to enjoy the shared prosperity and the Renewed Hope Agenda in 2024.”

On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, said so many things discussed at the council meeting were geared towards improving the welfare of Nigeria and Nigerians.

He said: “One of the major issues discussed was the issue of double taxation encouraging foreign direct investment. This time around, it’s about the relationship between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates. ?

“You’ll recall that a while ago, the president was in the United Arab Emirates and one of the matters that came up for discussion and negotiation is the agreement for the elimination of double taxation concerning taxes on income, and prevention of tax evasion and avoid avoidance.??

“The Council noted that the agreement between both countries, that is, between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates include personal income tax, company income tax, petroleum profit tax, information technology levy, tertiary education tax and capital gain tax.

“Because of the effect of this cooperation or the benefits that will accrue to Nigeria, the council agreed and directed that the agreement that had been signed already should be taken further by mandating authorising the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to prepare a bill along this line to take to the National Assembly for ratification. ?

?”The effect of this is that it does ceased to be an ordinary agreement but an agreement between two countries. Other countries will follow, but the one that we immediately leverage on is the one between Nigeria and the UAE.

“Apart from this, one has also decided that going forward, we should have a very solid national policy on taxation that will drive or attract foreign investment, so on the part of FDI, this was what was discussed and decided at the Federal Executive Council. “

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