Why import duty on wheat hits 65% in Nigeria
By Emmanuel Udom
This is encouraging news from the office of statistics in Nigeria. The federal government is planning to increase duty on importation of flour into the country from 35% to 65%.
The idea is the for Goodluck Jonathan led regime to discourage importation of wheat from foreign countries to Nigeria for the production of bread, a stable food item for most of us ordinary Nigerians.
So, bakeries are now encouraged to produce bread from cassava for the teeming population of Nigeria. This is certainly a return to local technology and investments, instead of perpetually depending on foreign investors to come over to our country to invest.
But, the word cabal is now the buzzword in our country today. These cabals, regarded as faceless are virtually in every sectors of our economy. They work against the moves of government for their own selfish, self centered motives.
Certainly, these cabals will not feel excited and clap for President Goodluck Jonathan for trying to discourage importation of wheat for bread. They think the government wants to run them out of business. They are most likely going to fight or hit back at government
So, the Goodluck Jonathan regime has a duty to go beyond the politics of import duty of wheat for bread, summon up enough political will as well as create an enabling environment to ensure that this policy works.
I was particularly excited when I read the bureau of statistics report and discovered that wheat grains could also attract import duty of 20% from the initial 5%.
My fear also is the mindset of some Nigerians on imported goods and services. Most of us, Nigerians do not patronize home grown industries, goods or services. We think the shoes that are produced in Aba, are inferior compared to the ones imported from the United States of America, United Kingdom and other foreign countries.
How will we encourage local industries to strive for perfections, if we do not buy their products and services? This is a multi level questions some of our must reflect upon.
On the side of government, encouraging Nigerians to eat bread produced from cassava instead of wheat is one thing on paper creating the enabling environment, through the provision of social amenities like electricity, water, good roads, soft loans, etc will certainly go a long way in walking the talk as far as democracy dividends to Nigerians is concerned.