Import Duty on cargoes imported into the country has increased by N23 after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased the exchange rate from N381 to N404.97 per dollar.
The CBN, yesterday June, 2021 officially increased the exchange rate for cargo clearance from its initial N381 per dollar to N404. 97 per dollar, even as freight forwarders have raised an alarm of imminent inflation in the Nigerian market due to increase in the prices of goods.
However, the Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr Uche Ejesieme confirmed the increase, saying that it was not the function of Customs to increase the exchange but that CBN.
The USD23 difference in the exchange rate has ready been effected on the customs systems by its IT service providers; Web Fontaine
Lamenting about this development, a freight forwarder, Mr Emeka Efi Okonkwo expressed surprise at the suddeness in the increase without recourse to the stakeholders.
He said that this would further increase the price of goods at the Nigerian markets while adding to the already tensed atmosphere in the country.
His words, “When we went to access a job this morning, we were told that the exchange rate has been increased, though we have been expecting it, but we don’t expect that it would be so sudden.
The implication of this on cargo clearance is that cost of clearance would increase by $24 difference”
“The cargoes that already enroute Nigeria would also be affected, the jobs that we want to clear this morning were affected”
“When you go back to the importers and request for money, they will tell you there is no notification of increase from customs, so the freight forwarders are the once that would bear the additional cost” he lamented
Okonkwo said that freight forwarding professionals need to be guided earlier whenever such increases are coming up, so that they can be able to advise their importers on what is obtainable.
He said “So many of them (importers) are stubborn, some would agree and some would disagree”
“The customs are working for the Federal Government, so they should have a circular to this effect to inform us earlier so that we can make predictions.
“This was the same way they increased it last year without any notification”
“Already, goods are expensive in the market, this would further add to the inflation in the Nigerian market”
“Coupled with the insecurity in the country, major stakeholders are no longer shipping cargoes into Nigeria, the little that have come in are now being hoarded” he lamented.
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