Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cheif Audu Ogbeh, has called for a reduction in import duties on agricultural machinery and other inputs in the country.
Speaking at the opening of the 2018 Seed Connect Conference and Expo in Abuja, Ogbeh said the situation was a disincentive to agricultural investment in the country, adding that his ministry was taking the matter up with relevant authorities.
He added: “We are taking this to the Nigeria Customs Service and the Minister of Finance because we have to reduce the duty on agricultural produce. We are already debating it if the duty of tractor is five per cent, why impose another duty on tyre which is a spare part?
“It is supposed to be zero duty but they pay Value Added Tax; I don’t know why they should pay VAT.We have to do something to make it cheaper. In other country, they are soft on agriculture. The credit line is three or 2.5 per cent; duties are removed; they subsidise export of their agricultural products.”
According to him, the Federal Government, also through the ministry, was working with ICT giant, Google, on farm mapping in the country, using GPS technology.
This, he said, would make it easier for government to keep track of farmers in the country, in addition to aiding agricultural planning and financing. While speaking on the country’s status regarding attainment of the Maputo Declaration, which recommended allocation of 10 per cent of national budget to the agricultural and rural development sector, he said the Federal Government and individual states are currently performing around 3.5 per cent each.