Importers in the country will pay a higher tariff, as the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has adopted a higher exchange rate band of N381 to N404.97 to calculate and pay import duty.
Stakeholders believe that the situation would trigger higher prices for goods and escalate already high inflation in the country.
Consignments imported into Nigeria are already subject to the new duty rate due to the Nigeria Customs Service (NSC).
As a result, from Tuesday onwards, all transactions and cargoes cleared from the port had their duty assessed at N404.97 per dollar.
Reverend Jonathan Nicole, the Shippers Association of Lagos president, indicated that the increase would raise cargo clearance costs for importers.
As a result, such developments will also lead to a rise in the market price of goods and cause inflation.
“It will raise the cost of clearing astronomically. Shippers will have to source for 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.
As a result of the Customs adjustment of the duty payable on goods, shippers were unsatisfied with the increase but have begun to pay.
Lucky Amiwero, National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), said the increase would exacerbate hardship for the citizenry, given Nigeria’s 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 high. The economy is not growing, and the people’s purchasing power is gradually going down, indicating that the government should do something to avoid more economic woes.”
Kayode Farinto, vice president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), said the increase took effect on Tuesday, adding that it was unfortunate that the cost of cargo clearance would increase and the value of goods, resulting in 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 to collect a valuation on Monday based on N381, but we can’t make the declaration now because it has changed to N404. We are not producing anything as our economy is over 90 per cent import oriented, so what do we expect?” he stated.”