January 29, 2020


There is always a winning or losing side to every situation. When the Finance bill was signed into law by President Buhari, it meant a lot of things to a lot of Nigerians.

But significantly for the food world, it meant that basic food items, including additives like honey, loaves of bread, cereals, cooking oils, culinary herbs, fish, flour and starch, fruits (fresh or dried), live or raw meat and poultry, milk, nuts, pulses, roots, salt, vegetables, water (natural water and table water) would not be taxed for value-added.

This means that for every time you step into your food stores to purchase any of these, you will not pay the approved 7.5% that your colleagues or even you yourself will pay if you have to purchase any item outside this list.

There are also a few exempt products but for the sake of agriculture which is our discourse right now, I will save you the details of ‘foreign’ conversations.

Another interesting angle of the new Act is the fact that it includes a provision that allows all companies “engaged in agricultural production” in Nigeria “an initial tax-free period of five years”, renewable for an additional three years.

In essence, if you run a farm in any part of Nigeria, you are free from tax for a whole five years. Five years of no tax for local man? Tell me that’s not good news and I’ll tell you that you clearly have no idea what good news looks and feels like. The best part is the phrase after ‘tax-free period…’

Look at that statement again and you would discover that if you continue in the Agri-business for five years, you can renew this tax holiday for another three years. Tell me about encouraging agriculture in Nigeria.

This is pretty much all that concerns you if you operate in the food sector; others will apply if you just want to live your life like the Nigerian that you are.

So, can I say you should just buy you some plots and get to work?

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