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Cablegate: Nigeria: 2008-2012 Tariff Book Review

VZCZCXRO7120
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2360/01 3380832
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030832Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4612
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 0380
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ABUJA 002360

SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO USTR-AGAMA AND GARDE; AID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWETZ; AND
SBA FOR SMITH
TREASURY FOR PETERS AND HALL
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS AND 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/DHARRIS
USDA/FAS FOR MAURICE HOUSE, DOROTHY ADAMS
DOJ FOR KOUAME

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON KIPR EAGR EINV EAID PGOV SENV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: 2008-2012 TARIFF BOOK REVIEW

REF: A. ABUJA 2340
B. ABUJA 2302
C. ABUJA 2295
D. ABUJA 2223
E. ABUJA 2197
F. ABUJA 2177
G. ABUJA 2146
H. ABUJA 1977
I. ABUJA 1925

1. Summary. Following the September 25, 2008 release of the
2008-2012 Nigerian government tariff book, a number of major import
bans were eliminated and some tariffs were significantly reduced
(reftel I). The Government of Nigeria's (GON) tariff policy for
2008 to 2012 reduces the number of banned tradable imports from 44
to 26 items, and reduces tariffs on a wide range of items. Though
the number of tariff bands remains unchanged compared with the
earlier tariff policy announced in 2005, the tariff on the fifth
tariff band which Nigeria proposed to its West African neighbors
under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common
External Tariff (CET) has been reduced from 50% to 35%. A review of
the tariff book demonstrates that in several categories there may be
significant opportunities for U.S. products. Export bans have been
removed on corn, crude vegetable oil, sorghum, biscuits, sugar
confectionaries, flour and fresh/dried fruits, while tariffs have
been reduced on products such as rice. The trade policy shift is
good news that follows years of USG advocacy and represents a
positive milestone in Nigerian trade policy. This cable is second
of two cables that describe in detail trade policy changes and the
areas where U.S. companies may take advantage (reftel B). End
summary.

2. On September 25, 2008, the GON through Bright Okogu, Director
General of the Budget Office of the Federation, and H.B. Ahmed,
Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), announced
a new tariff policy published in a document titled the "2008 - 2012
Tariff Book." The new tariff book is Nigeria's second attempt at
harmonizing its tariff regime with those of its West African
neighbors under the Economic Community of West African States
(ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET).
.
2008 - 2012 Tariff Book
-----------------------
.
3. The number of prohibited tradable imports was reduced from 44
items to 26 items, and there is a general reduction in applicable
duty rates in the new tariff book. All counterfeit and pirated
materials or counterfeit coin of any country are also absolutely
prohibited under the new tariff policy. The tariff book contains
eight schedules and five tariff bands. The applicable duty of the
fifth tariff band earlier proposed by Nigeria under the CET which
was 50% has been reduced to 35%. The tariff bands are as follows:

-- Band 1 - Zero duty for necessities such as medicines including
drugs for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, books, fertilizer;
-- Band 2 - 5% duty for basic raw materials;
-- Band 3 - 10% duty for intermediate goods;
-- Band 4 - 20% duty for finished goods; and
-- Band 5 - 35% duty for luxury items and finished goods in infant
industries the GON wants to protect.

4. The tariff book has eight schedules. (Note: In reftel I, we
reported seven schedules based on information that was provided to
us by NCS. We now have a copy of the tariff book and verify that it
contains eight schedules and that schedule 3 contains banned items
that affect U.S. producers. End Note.) Schedule 1 contains a list
of products and their applicable duty rates. Schedule 2 contains a
list of goods and circumstances under which they are exempted from
import duty such as films and auditory materials imported by the
United Nations and its agencies; fuel for the aircraft of the armed
forces of a another country and civil aircraft registered in a
country recognized by the GON; goods imported for the official and
personal use of the President of Nigeria; goods imported for
consular officers; goods obtained free as technical assistance from
donor agencies/countries; life saving equipment; military hardware
and uniforms; arms and ammunitions imported by the Nigerian Police,
NCS, and other paramilitary forces; and diplomatic privileged
importations. Schedule 3 contains a list of prohibited
tradable/resale imports, and schedule 4 contains a list of
absolutely prohibited imports. Schedule 5 contains a list of goods

ABUJA 00002360 002.13 OF 004


liable to excise duty and schedule 6 contains a list of prohibited
exports. Schedule 7 contains a list of goods exempted from excise
duty and schedule 8 spells out the valuation procedure for the
purposes of excise duty.
.
Banned Items
------------
.
5. Banned items are contained in schedule 3, and are items whose
import is prohibited. Items banned in schedule 3 may be imported in
quantities allowable for personal use, but not for resale. The
items on the import prohibition list as contained in schedule 3
include:
-- Live or dead birds including frozen poultry;
-- Pork, and beef;
-- Bird eggs;
-- Cassava;
-- Refined vegetable oil, but excluding refined linseed, castor and
olive oil. Note that crude vegetable oil is not banned from
importation;
-- Cocoa butter powder and cakes;
-- Spaghetti and noodles;
-- Fruit juice in retail packs;
-- Water, including mineral water and flavored water;
-- Bagged cement (only companies that have been granted concession
to import the item for a limited time to bridge supply gaps can
import);
-- Medicines such as paracetamol tablets and syrups, cotrimozazole
tablets and syrups, metronidazole tablets and syrups, chloroquine
tablets and syrups, haematinic formulations, multivitamin tablets,
capsules, and syrups, aspirin tablets, magnesium trisilicate tablets
and suspensions, penicillin and gentamycin ointments, and
intravenous fluids;
-- Waste pharmaceuticals;
-- Soaps and detergents;
-- Mosquito repellant coils;
-- Plastic wares excluding baby feeding bottles;
-- Toothpicks;
-- Rethreaded and used tires, but excluding used truck tires for
rethreading;
-- Corrugated paper and paper boards including cartons and boxes
made from them;
-- Telephone recharge cards and vouchers;
-- Textile fabrics such as African prints, lace fabric and
embroidered fabrics, carpets and rugs, and made up garments;
-- Footwear, bags and suitcases, but excluding safety shoes, sports
shoes, canvas shoes, and all Completely Knocked Down (CKD) blanks
and parts;
-- Hollow glass bottles of capacity exceeding 150 milliliters used
for packaging beverages;
-- Used air conditioners, used compressors, and used
fridges/freezers;
-- Used cars older than ten years from the date of manufacture;
-- Furniture, but excluding baby walkers, laboratory furniture,
stadium chairs, and skeletal parts of furniture such as blanks,
unholstered or unfinished parts of metal, plastics, veneer, chair
shells etc;
-- Ball point pen and parts including refills, but excluding the
tip.
.
Items Removed From the Import Prohibition List
--------------------------------------------- -
.
6. The following are items removed from the prohibited tradable
imports list and their applicable duty rate:

-- Flowers, either plastic or fresh - 20%;
-- Fresh and dried fruits - 20%;
-- Maize (corn), millet, sorghum - 5%;
-- Wheat flour and maize flour - 35%;
-- Sugar confectionery - 35%;
-- Biscuits - 20%;
-- Bentonites and barytes - 5%;
-- Toothpaste - 35%;
-- Envelopes - 20%;
-- Baby diapers - 20%;
-- Exercise books - 20%;
-- Cutlasses, axes, pick axes, spades, shovels, and other hand tools
- 35%
-- Fully built bicycles and motorcycles - 35%

ABUJA 00002360 003 OF 004


-- Completely Knocked Down (CKD) bicycle and motorcycle frame for
assembly - 5%;
-- Wheel barrows - 20%;
-- Sound proof casings for generators - 35%; and
-- Made up garments such as made-up lining articles (20%),
insecticide treated mosquito nets (0%), industrial gloves (20%),
moulding cup lycra (20%), mutilated rags (5%), jute bags (35%),
brassieres (20%), pants (20%), and ties (20%).
.
Absolutely Prohibited Imports
-----------------------------
.
7. The items that their importation is absolutely prohibited as
contained in schedule 4 include:

-- Air pistols;
-- Airmail photographic printing paper;
-- All counterfeit/pirated materials or articles including base or
counterfeit coin of any country;
-- Beads composed of inflammable celluloid or other similar
substances;
-- Blank invoices;
-- Coupons for foreign football pools or betting arrangements;
-- Cowries;
-- Exhausted tea or tea mixed with other substances (exhausted tea
is any tea which has been deprived of its proper quality, strength
or virtue by steeping, infusion, decoction, or other means);
-- Implements pertaining to the reloading of cartridges;
-- Indecent or obscene prints, paintings, books, cards, engravings
or any indecent or obscene articles;
-- Manilas;
-- Matches made with white phosphorous;
-- Materials of any description with a design which is likely, in
the opinion of the President, to create a breach of the peace or to
offend the religious views of any class of persons in Nigeria;
-- Meat, vegetables or other provisions declared by a health officer
to be unfit for human consumption;
-- Piece goods and all other textiles including wearing apparel,
hardware of all kinds of crockery and china or earthenware goods
bearing inscriptions (whether in Roman or Arabic characters) from
the Koran or from the traditions and commentaries on the Koran;
-- Pistols disguised in any form;
-- Second-hand clothing;
-- Nuclear industrial waste and other toxic waste;
-- Silver or metal alloy coins not being legal tender in Nigeria;
and
-- Injurious spirits.
.
Goods Liable to Excise Duty
---------------------------
.
8. Good produced in Nigeria and for domestic use are located in
schedule 5. The goods liable to excise duty and their applicable
duty rate as contained in schedule 5 include:
-- Perfumes and other toilet water cosmetics - 5%;
-- Non-alcoholic beverages, including fruit juice - 5%;
-- Soap and detergent - 5%;
-- Beer and stout - 20%;
-- Wines - 20%;
-- Spaghetti/noodles - 5%;
-- Spirits and other alcoholic beverages - 20%;
-- Cigarettes and tobacco - 20%;
-- Telephone Recharge cards and vouchers - 5%;
-- Corrugated paper, paper boards and boxes/cartons made from them -
5%; and
-- Toilet paper, cleansing or facial tissue - 5%.
.
Export Prohibition List
-----------------------
.
9. Items on the export prohibition list as contained in schedule 6
include:

-- Maize (corn);
-- Unprocessed Rubber Latex and Lump;
-- Raw hide/skin including Wet Blue and unprocessed leather;
-- Timber, rough/sawn, but excluding railway slippers and furniture
components;
-- Scrap metal;
-- Artifacts and antiquities;

ABUJA 00002360 004 OF 004


-- Wildlife animal classified as endangered species and their
products e.g. crocodile, elephant, lizard etc; and
-- All imported goods.
.
Goods Exempted from Excise Duty
-------------------------------
.
10. The following goods are exempted from excise duty as contained
in schedule 7:

-- Goods exported;
-- Goods used in the manufacture of other excisable products where
excise duty will be paid on the final products; and
-- Goods which have become spoilt or otherwise unfit for use prior
to delivery from the entered premises and so certified by the
appropriate health officer or otherwise so established to the
satisfaction of the Comptroller General of the NCS.
.
Comment
-------
.
11. The reduction in the number of prohibited imports is a major
breakthrough and step in the right direction after sustained
advocacy efforts. Advocacy efforts and engagement on the Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement and potential Bilateral Investment
Treaty should continue and be strengthened to further encourage
elimination of all bans and replacement with reasonable tariffs.
The continued harmonization of the four bands with the ECOWAS CET
and reduction of the duty on the fifth band from 50 percent to 35
percent also shows that Nigeria remains committed to the ECOWAS CET.
The updated tariff book is on the NCS website (www.customs.gov.ng).


SANDERS

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