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Nigerian Customs imposes 50% import duty on books

Nigerian Customs imposes 50% import duty on books

ABUJA: the Nigeria Publishers Association (NPA) has made several submissions on the dangers that the policy portends to the education sector and the knowledge economy due to the heavy import duty imposed on books and education sector by the Cusotms.

A tax on books is a tax on access to knowledge and no country can afford to stunt the intellectual growth of its citizens in this way. The general reason given for the imposition of the duty is to help the paper industry but the duty will only encourage a resort to e-books and other forms of digital content leaving the paper industry worse off.

On January 23, 2014, the Federal Government released a gazette announcing that a 50 per cent tariff would be imposed on books, effective from March 30, 2014. Since the announcement was made, The association is appealing to the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration, stakeholders and well meaning Nigerians to ensure the tariff is reverted to zero duty. Barely two weeks to the expiration of December 31, 2014 deadline for implementation of the policy, the situation remains unchanged, UJUNWA ATUEYI writes.

EVER since the Federal Ministry of Finance announced the introduction of a 50 per cent tariff and duty on imported books, the Nigeria Publishers Association (NPA), the umbrella body for all reputable book publishers in Nigeria has been at the forefront canvassing for the policy reversal.

The association has made several submissions to the ministers of finance, education and the House of Representative Committee on Education, seeking the cancellation of the policy, which they say would bring extreme adversity to the nation’s education sector if implemented.

The imposition of tariff on books does not only run contrary to UNESCO’s Florence Agreement, it also negates President Goodluck Jonathan’s “Bring Back the Book” campaign.

As part of efforts to cause the policy cancellation, the association adopted an appeal for extension of implementation, while genuinely calling on well meaning Nigerians to rise up to the challenge and prevail on the Federal Government to remove the embargo.

At first, the association made a formal presentation to the Finance Ministry, which resulted to the suspension of the implementation from March 30, 2014, to September 30, 2014. On further presentation, the government extended the implementation till December 31, 2014.