IMPORTERS in Nigeria have lamented the sustained rise in duties under President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
They claimed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) increased the duties six times since the President took power on May 29, 2023, because of the fluctuating exchange rate.
This development has left several cargoes stuck at the Ports, with businesses going through difficulties.
Former Chairman of the Licenced Agents Association of Nigeria, Lasisi Lanu, who disclosed this development on Tuesday, February 6, said duties were increased six times underTinubu-led government following the deteriorating foreign exchange crisis.
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According to Lasisi, the situation will worsen Nigeria’s current economic problems.
Lasisi said the duty rate was being calculated as N1.413.62 per dollar against N1356 per dollar.
He noted that this development was affecting business survival with less attention paid to trade facilitation, a key mandate of the Customs Service.
“I don’t know how the importers can survive in this. It is difficult. We understand that the Federal Government wants to generate funds, but this is not the procedure to follow.
“You cannot expect someone who has made decisions of the duty on his goods in December at $951 with landing costs and other ancillary charges to go ahead” and easily pay the new duty that is much higher than what had been decided, he added.
Lasisi confirmed that several cargoes were stuck at the wharf as they struggled to clear their imported goods over rising duty costs.
“All goods in the market are affected, and we’re an import-dependent nation, and we import virtually all we need in the country.”
Speaking on this development, the chief executive officer of the Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, expressed concerns over the frequent changes in the price of duties.
Yusuf noted that international trade and businesses react to frequent policy changes, creating problems, uncertainties, and unpredictability for investments.
He explained that the Central Bank Of Nigeria fixed the rate while Customs did the implementation. “We need to bring it to the attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he stated.
“Six changes in seven months is quite a lot. Secondly, the cost of import is extremely high by virtue of the devaluation of the currency.
He added, “Currency depreciation is already a major headache to businesses, and we expect initiatives and policies geared towards trade facilitation and economic growth. We must be able to enjoin the CBN to review the rate of these import duties to support businesses and facilitate trade.”
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.