From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
To strengthen Nigeria’s health infrastructure in the anti-coronavirus campaign, President Muhammadu Buhari has granted duty waiver for medical supplies effective May 1, 2020, and directed the immediate evacuation of all imported medical equipment from the ports.
In addition, Buhari directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to expedite the clearing of all imported healthcare equipment, medical and pharmaceutical supplies at the nation’s ports, according to the Special Assistant to the President on Digital & New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi.
Ogunlesi twitted Tuesday that “Mr President 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 also directed the NCS to implement expedited clearing of all imported healthcare equipment, medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
“The Presidential Waiver on import duties for medical equipment and supplies and directive for expedited clearing took effect from May 1, 2020. Anyone importing medical equipment and supplies, this is for you.”
Relatedly, Ogunlesi disclosed that there is no certainty yet on the re-opening of the nation’s shut borders with neighbouring countries as Buhari would decide on that only after the current Covid-19 crisis.
According to him, “on land border re-opening, we’ve reached a reasonable level of understanding with our neighbours – a clear commitment to complying with the trade protocols they were previously abusing. The final decision will be made by Mr President once this pandemic is over.”