Nigeria has unveiled the Diplomatic duty free village in Abuja.
The establishment of the village is in compliance with the United Nations Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which domesticated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1961, through the diplomatic immunities and privileges act of December 1962.
This statutes provide for the exemption of diplomats from all duties and taxes, whether national, regional or municipal.
“Specifically, the diplomatic immunities and privileges act of 1962 empowers the Ministry of Finance to exempt diplomats from all taxes.
The minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed said on Tuesday during the unveiling of the village, said diplomats are already enjoying duty free shopping facilities in several countries, such as South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, most of the EU countries and a few others, insisting that it in line with government’s responsibilities to ensure same in Nigeria.
Ahmed said that the facility is only for diplomats and members of their household, while noting that the facility became important to ensure coordination of imports for the diplomats.
The village she said is for “strict control or cessation of individual requests for waivers on imported items by diplomats which presently, is largely uncoordinated and originated. Another number six digital connectivity largely uncoordinated and originated.
She also said that the duty free facility will enable government to maintain a database of products.
The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Amb. Zubairu Dada said the facility will also help in reducing the level.of shipment by various diplomats as the facilty, which is one-stop shopping village will take care of all the needs of the diplomats in Abuja.
He also assured the diplomatic circle of their safety saying that the government will provide adequate security at the village.
He said, “No doubt the services provided by the duty free facility will drastically reduce the volume of diplomatic shipments into the country.
“It is my hope that the services of the duty free facility will further provide an additional platform and opportunity for members of the diplomatic community to enjoy this dividend stay in our country. I understand that the facility has different interesting and top notch sections ranging from shopping centre recreational services, spa, eye centre, restaurants and us.
“They need to affirm that the federal government of Nigeria has so far demonstrated his commitment towards ensuring the success of the duty free facility by giving the needed support for each operation, which will by no small measure contribute immensely to the economic growth of Nigeria.”
The Managing Director, Diplomatic Village, Uche Odozor said that the project which started since 2010, noted it is to meet the needs of the diplomats in accordance to the Vienna convention.
“We have within this facility a wellness and fitness centre comprising of a spa for those who enjoy wellness and beauty if you go around this country and this city, you will find nothing like these within these premises. “We also have laundry services person wants to do yoga, but we also have above all, our diplomatic village clinic.”
Michael Olugbode in Abuja