Tinubu Signs Executive Order Suspending Import Duties On Pharmaceutical Products

By Johnson Nwankwo

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has signed an executive order suspending tariffs, excise duties, and value-added tax (VAT) on imported pharmaceu machinery and other inputs.

It was gathered that the move was to make the essential commodities affordable.

The coordinating minister of health and social welfare, Muhammad Ali Pate, stated the signing on Friday. He said the initiative aims to rejuvenate Nigeria’s health sector and increase local production of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices such as needles and syringes, biologicals, and medical textiles.

The order to be codified by the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, SAN, is also a crucial component of the initiative to unlock the healthcare value chain (PVAC_NG), which President Tinubu approved in October 2023.

It introduces zero tariffs, excise duties, and VAT on specified machinery, equipment, and raw materials.

The minister said, “In a transformative move to revitalise the Nigerian health sector, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has signed an Executive Order aiming to increase local production of healthcare products (pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, devices such as needles and syringes, biologicals, medical textile, etc.).

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“Specified items include Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), excipients, other essential raw materials required for manufacturing of crucial health products like drugs, syringes and needles, Long-lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) and Rapid Diagnostic Kits, among others.

“The Order also provides for establishing market-shaping mechanisms such as framework contracts and volume guarantees to encourage local manufacturers.

“The Order mandates collaboration among the Ministers of Health, Finance, as well as Industry, Trade and Investment, to develop a harmonised implementation framework — expediting regulatory approvals and reducing bottlenecks,” Pate stated, adding that agencies, including the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) “will ensure swift implementation, with special waivers and exemptions effective for two years.

“The implication of this order is pivot towards market-based incentives to encourage medical industrialisation, reducing costs of medical products through import substitution over time, creating and retaining economic value and enabling job creation in the healthcare value chain.”

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