Mr Uche Odozor, Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Diplomatic Village says the establishment of the facility will accelerate growth in Nigeria’s economy, provide employment opportunities and help government curb arbitrary importation.

Odozor made this known of Friday while taking some journalists on a tour of the facility, a government policy driven by private investment established in compliance with the Vienna Convention of 1961.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Vienna Convention exempts diplomats from all forms of duties and taxes in their serving countries.

Odozor said that with the technology deployed for the functioning of the village, the Nigerian government can now monitor diplomatic importation against any form of abuse and track the level of waiver granted via a data base.

He also noted that the opening of the facility has also created employment opportunities for Nigerians.

“Nigeria is signatory to a Vienna Convention Act of 1961 which provides duty free and tax-free shopping to all diplomats and commonwealth of nations in countries where they serve.

“And what that means is that all the all the personal consumption and products that diplomats are exposed to in this country are not to be taxed or vatted. Not just resident diplomats but those visiting.

“It has huge economic benefit because before now, every diplomat who could do so were bringing in items for their consumption. It became subjected to abuse of that privilege and that has worried the nation, we have incurred a lot of losses.

“That was why we started the discussion with the government since 2011, and the processes were really rather rigorous but today, the project has taken off.

“You can see the technology deployed and most importantly we can now track the level of waiver granted these waivers via a data base.

“What it means is a strict or more stringent measures in terms of controlling the level of arbitrary importation on the part of diplomats which by their rights they are entitled to.

“But some of these items, rather than bring them in for personal use, they come in in commercial volumes, so we lose revenue.

“So this is going to curb revenue loses. Their response in the past 48 hours since the launch is quite remarkable,” odozor said.

Odozor said that the government have provided adequate facility for the facility with the special squadron, which is diplomatic police stationed within and outside the premises.

The diplomatic village CEO also noted that as part of its inclusion mandate, arts and crafts from Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are being displayed in the village for diplomats to buy.

He said that proceeds from the sale of the arts works are returned to the displaced persons in hundred per cent.

He also disclosed plans to establish similar facilities in other parts of the country with a high presence of diplomatic contingents like Lagos, and Borno States where staff of the United Nations are very much present.

Mr Mohammed Yakub, Director, Tax and Policy in the Ministry of Finance said that the establishment of the Diplomatic Village is in line with global practice.

He said that diplomats serving in Nigeria can now enjoy tax free services and items, the same things that Nigerian diplomats serving abroad enjoy.

The one-stop shop for diplomats have all the facilities and services that they need for their day to day living; duty free shopping mall, clinic, spa, restaurant, gym, luxury store, wine shop, among others.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria © 2023. All Rights Reserved