Importers, agents groan as Customs adopt N404.97/$1 as new import duty rate

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Importers in the country are to pay more, as the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adopts a higher exchange rate band from N381 to N404.97 for calculation and payment of import duty.

The situation, according to stakeholders, would trigger a higher cost of goods in the market and trigger further the country’s already high inflation.

Newsmen gathered that the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC) has immediately implemented the rate on duty payable on consignments imported into the country. Therefore, all transactions and cargoes cleared from the port from Tuesday, had their duty computed based on the new rate of N404.97 to a dollar.

President, Shippers Association of Lagos, Reverend Jonathan Nicole told newsmen that the increment is not palatable with importers, because the move will increase the cost of cargo clearance.

He noted that such developments would also cause a hike in prices and goods in the market and lead to inflation.

“It will raise the cost of clearing astronomically. Shippers will have to source more funds to clear their goods. The ripple effect is that goods will become more expensive in the market and this will lead to inflation,” he stated.

Nicole said shippers were not happy with the increment but have begun to pay, since the Customs have adjusted the duty payable on goods.

National President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said the increase would create more hardship for the citizenry, considering the fact that Nigeria runs an import-dependent economy.

He said: “The latest increase will also affect the purchasing power of Nigerians. The continuous increase will cause a problem because it will get to a level where the inflation rate will be terribly high. The economy is not growing and the people’s purchasing power is gradually going down, which an indication that government should do something to avoid more economic woes.”

Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said the increase took effect on Tuesday, adding that it was unfortunate that the cost of cargo clearance will increase and the value of goods will also increase, thereby causing inflation in the economy.

“The purchasing power of the common man on the street will continue to reduce because something you purchased N10 last month, this month, they will tell you is N60.

“Customs does not have control of it. They will just update the increase on their system immediately and they have done that. I have a job that I collect a valuation on Monday based on N381 but we can’t do the declaration now because it has been changed to N404. We are not producing anything as our economy is over 90 percent import oriented, so what do we expect?” he stated.