200% import duty surge, an inevitable burden on average consumer- Importers


By Abiodun OBA

The over 200 per cent import duty surge compared to previous rates, will inevitably burden the average consumer.

Nigerian importers troubled by escalating duty costs, following the country’s floating of its foreign exchange rate have cried out.

They lamented that the development disproportionately affects Nigerian importers, as the country primarily relies on import of various goods and commodities.

Recall that Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, last week, said floating exchange rate was the major cause of the surge, stressing that nothing had changed in custom duty.

Speaking on the development on behalf of importers, the erstwhile acting President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said recent surge in import duty, due to volatile exchange rate, significantly impacts the cost of imported goods.

He said this is because the country is predominantly an importing nation, relying on international trade for a significant portion of its consumption needs.

Farinto noted that within three to four months, customs had reviewed the duty about three times, urging the agency to consider the huge pain this causes the masses.

He said the cost of trade has always been a significant concern for importers and that sudden increase in import duty rates further exacerbates the challenge.

According to him, economic realities faced by importers in Nigeria directly impact their ability to source and supply affordable goods to meet the needs of the country’s population.

Farinto said: “The current exchange rate fluctuations have caused import duties to rise to unprecedented levels, making it increasingly difficult for importers to maintain competitive pricing while staying afloat in the market. The implications of this situation are far-reaching, as the increased import duty will ultimately translate to higher prices of imported goods, thus burdening the average consumer.

“It is important to highlight that importers play a crucial role in spurring economic growth, job creation, and ensuring a vibrant consumer market. However, escalating import duty rates threaten import-driven businesses, which will inevitably have a ripple effect on the economy.”

He therefore, called on relevant authorities and stakeholders to review the current import duty structure and devise comprehensive measures to address challenges.

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