By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a blanket waiver of import duties for medical equipment and supplies as part of the country’s effort to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was made by Mr Tolu Ogunlesi, the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Digital/New Media on Tuesday.
According to Mr Ogunlesi, who wrote via his Twitter – @toluogunlesi, in addition to the import waiver, President Buhari has directed the Nigeria Customs Service to implement expedited clearing of all imported healthcare equipment and medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a blanket waiver of import duties for medical equipment and supplies, as part of Nigeria’s efforts to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition to the import waiver, President Buhari has directed the Nigerian Customs to implement expedited clearing of all imported healthcare equipment and medical and pharmaceutical supplies,” the President’s aide wrote yesterday in a series of tweets.
With this waiver, the country will be able to get more medical equipment to strengthen the health system in the country.
The move has also been touted to support the efforts of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in treating the daily surge of COVID-19 cases.
With this, the Nigeria Customs Service would be required to provide a report on a quarterly basis on the importation details of supplies that enjoyed the waiver.
The report would be submitted to the government through the ministries of trade and industry, finance, budget and national planning and health.
This joins the lists of other fiscal policies that the government has introduced in the face of the pandemic.
It was stressed that this new directive applies only to COVID-19 test kits and apparatus, protective garments including gloves and masks, needles, incubation kits, bandages and gauze amongst other supplies and would likely be reviewed once the nation successfully puts the issue under control.
As at Wednesday morning, 2,950 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been discovered in Nigeria with 481 recoveries and 98 deaths.
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