Include cancer, malaria, diabetes drugs in import duty and VAT waiver - Senate tells FG

Include cancer, malaria, diabetes drugs in import duty and VAT waiver - Senate tells FG
The federal government has been urged to include anti-cancer, malaria, diabetes and other essential pharmaceutical drugs on the streamlined import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) waiver. 

The senate made the call on Tuesday May 19, following a motion on the “Urgent need for the Federal Government to streamline Import Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) Waiver to essential pharmaceuticals drugs” sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South).

Senator Ubah who pointed out that people with underlying ailments such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and cancer have a higher mortality rate than Coronavirus patients, stated that the import duty and VAT waivers granted by the Federal Government on medical supplies as operated by the Nigeria Customs Service did not extend to essential pharmaceutical drugs such as anti-malaria, anti-diabetes, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer and several other medications needed by children, the elderly and the most vulnerable group in the country.

He averred that an import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) waiver on such drugs will make them easily available and also reduce the immense pressure on the existing supply chain.

The Anambra born Senator who further stated that the current exchange rate has adversely affected pharmaceutical companies, added the situation has led to a spike in prices of commonly consumed drugs.

The senate which approved the request, directed its committees on Finance, Health (secondary and tertiary), Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases to liaise with the Ministry of Finance to ensure compliance with its resolution.

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