The Senate on Wednesday resolved to appeal to the federal government to review upward, import duty on soap noodles to save the local soap manufacturing industry from collapse. Noodles is the basic ingredient used in the production of soap.
The motion, “Urgent need to review the Import Duty of Soap Noodles,” from its current 10% was sponsored by Senator Barau Jibrin (Kano North) and five others. It was seconded by former Kebbi state governor, Senator Adamu Aliero.
The Senate observed that the downward review of the import duty
from 10% to 35% was a disincentive to local soap manufacturers with huge investment in the industry.
Senators who spoke on the motion noted that the policy was unsustainable as it would imperil the economy that just survived a recession.
Contributing to the motion shortly after seconding it, Senator Aliero noted that reduction on import duties was a bad signal because of the consequent effect on the economy.
Senator Jubrin Isah ( Kogi East) said the action of the government was counterproductive as it only creates jobs for the originating countries where these items are sourced. “We must review the import substitution strategy to save our industries that are comatose,” he submitted.
Senator Ajayi Borofice, (Ondo North) said the policy of downward review of import duty was not healthy for local manufacturers and called for a holistic review of import substitution strategy to save local industries. He recalled that the contribution of the manufacturing industry to our Gross Domestic Product was very low as a result of bad economic policy.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi ( Enugu North) appealed to the federal government to be conscious to encourage policy that will reflate the economy and ultimately, provide jobs for our teeming youths.
In his contribution, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, (Ekiti North) called for caution as he appealed to the Senate to engage the relevant agencies of government to know why the import duty was reduced from 35 to 10%.
“Protective tariff is an interim measure to save local industries to ensure that our local industries can compete globally. Without an assessment of the success of the measure, it is difficult to say in one fell swoop to say the government should reverse. The Senate should investigate what happened ab initio and why the reversal now.”
After thorough deliberation on the motion by contributors, the single prayer was amended to review the import duty upward from its current 10% without placing a ceiling of 35%.
Co-sponsors of the motion were, Senators Yahaya Abdullahi (Kebbi North), Oloriegbe Yahaya Ibrahim (Kwara Central), Gabriel Suswan (Benue North-East) and Mathew Urhoghide (Edo South).
The Senate also inaugurated an ad- hoc committee on media and public affairs to launder its image, pending the proper constitution of standing committees of the upper Chamber.
Former National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Dayo Adeyeye ( Ekiti South) was announced as chairman of the Committee.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the committee was vital to project the activities of the Senate known to the public as well as projecting individual public affairs of members.
He said that members were well selected to liaise with the public on behalf of the Senate as well as getting feedback from the public. He charged the committee to discharge its assignment diligently.
In his response, Senator Adeyeye asked for the cooperation of members for his team to succeed.
Other members of the ad- hoc committee were, Senators Aishatu Dairu Ahmed, Uba Sani, Abba Moro, Ifeanyi Uba and Betty Afiapi.