Nigeria establishes diplomatic village, exempt them from duties, taxes

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By Joy Odor

To envisaged that a duty free facility exclusively for the origin of diplomas will enable Nigeria to achieve economic benefits, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on Tuesday commission the first established Diplomatic Village Duty Free Facility for diplomacy in Nigeria.

Declaring the facility open in Abuja, the Finance Minister, informed that the duty free facility will exempt the diplomas from all duties and taxes, whether national, regional or municipal.

She mentioned that the diplomatic village will also maintain a realiable database of products being patronised by diplomats to ascertain policy for policy purposes, effective control, and impact of all waivers that are granted to all the payments to a single channel in terms of products, values, as well as beneficiaries to just publish periodically the value of tax expenditures being incurred by government through the grant of tax waivers to the diplomatic community to ascertain assurance that goods purchased at the shops are exclusively for the personal use.

The Finance Minister narrated that the duty free facility for the exclusive cadre of diplomats was born out of the desire to comply with the international best practice and to receive credit, the fruit gesture of other countries that offer similar privileges to Nigeria diplomats serving in those countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, most of the EU countries and others.

According to her, the decision were in compliance with the United Nations Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 as domesticated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the diplomatic immunities and Privileges Act number 42 of December 1962.

She noted that the diplomatic communities and Privileges Act of 1962 empowered the Minister of Finance to exempt diplomats from all taxes including customs excise taxes, assuring them of adequate security in the course of their shopping activities or other interactions within and outside the immediate vicinity of the facility.

“Diplomats enjoy duty free shopping facilities in several countries, such as South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, most of the EU countries and a few others, is the government’s responsibility to also ensure the physical security of diplomats in our country.

“The facility we are opening today is fitted with security instruments and will be guided by well equipped government security personnel drawn from several relevant agencies.

“Accordingly, members of the diplomatic corps and their staff and family members are guaranteed of adequate security in the course of their shopping activities or other interactions within and outside the immediate vicinity of this facility” she said.

In his address, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, (MFA) Geoffrey Onyeama affirmed that the federal government of Nigeria has so far demonstrated its commitment towards ensuring the success of the duty free facility by giving the needed support to each operation, which will by no small measure contribute immensely to the economic growth of Nigeria.

Represented by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, Geoffrey Onyeama said no doubt the services provided by the duty free facility will drastically reduce the volume of diplomatic shipments into the country.

He explained that relevant stakeholders, especially security agencies have been mandated to work in synergy in ensuring adequate security to protect diplomatic who visit the facility and enjoined them to patronised the Duty Free Store, which is exclusively established to serve them and members of their household.

The Minister hoped that the services of the duty free facility would further provide the additional platform and opportunity for members of the diplomatic community to enjoy the stage in Nigeria.

“In the face of current realities, where the federal government of Nigeria has initiated various economic policies to promote economic growth, facility will no doubt make a positive impact in enhancing commercial activities to serve both diplomats.

“I also acknowledged that attendant positive effects that the establishment of this facility will have employment and wealth creation opportunities” he noted.

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