The Federal Government on Tuesday unveiled a Diplomatic duty-free village in Abuja where diplomats can now buy items and enjoy tax-free services in the country.
BRANDPOWER reports that the Diplomatic village was established in compliance with the United Nations Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which exempts diplomats from all duties and taxes, whether national, regional or municipal.
Amb. Zubairu Dada, Minister of state, Foreign Affair, said the facility will also help in reducing the level of shipment by individual diplomats.
Dada described the facility as a one-stop shopping village that will take care of all the needs of the diplomats in Abuja.
He also assured the diplomatic circle of their safety, noting that the government will provide adequate security at the village.
“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, clinic, etc.
“This affirms that the federal government of Nigeria has so far demonstrated its 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,” Dada said.
Also speaking, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance and National Planning said that the federal government took the establishment of the facility important to ensure coordination of imports for the diplomats.
Ahmed said that the diplomatic immunities and privileges Act of 1962 empowers the Ministry of Finance to exempt diplomas from all taxes including Diplomats who enjoy duty-free shopping facilities in several countries.
The village she said will ensure strict control or cessation of individual requests for waivers on imported items by diplomas which presently, is largely uncoordinated and originated.
Ahmed added that the duty-free facility will enable government to maintain a database of products.
Mr Uche Odozor, Managing Director of the village, said that the establishment of the facility will no doubt improve diplomatic relations between Nigeria and representatives of other countries and multilateral institutions in the country.
Odozor said it was fulfilling to see the unveiling of an edifice that started since 2010.
“We have within this facility a wellness and fitness centre comprising a spa for those who enjoy wellness and beauty, a clinic, among the many facilities,” Odozor said.
BRANDPOWER reports that the facility sets on a 2,700 square-metre land on the Olusegun Obasanjo Way Central Business District Abuja.