Customs brokers threaten to down tools over increase in import duty
By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

A group of maritime stakeholders under the  aegis of the Association Concerned Freight Forawrders, Thursday, commenced moves against the recent incremet in the payment of import duties, a development they said would further trigger inflation in the economy.
Speaking to newsmen after a meeting at the RockView Hotel in Lagos, Convener of the meeting Mr. Ndubisi Uzoegbo, disclosed that the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, increased import duty by 200 percent, lamenting that that people were trading in Nigeria at a great risk.
Uzoegbo also said that besides the increase in the rate of import duty, shipping companies and terminal operators had also incrased their charges by over 70 percent without recourse to its impact on people.
According to him, “The system we are operating is no more favourable to us, the increment in duty payable is affecting us. As it stands now, we can longer pay our workers. The shipping companies’ increment, the terminal operators’ incremet is inacceptable.
“We do not understand how they can increase their tariff without consulting us, we will like to know who they consulted before they took this action.
“Every practitioners of freight forwarder, including the transporters will be mobilized to protest this arbitrary charges because we can’t continue this way and if we want this country to work, we have to get it right and the time is now”.
Similarly, Jonny Ubaka, Coordinator of the group said that if urgent steps were not taken to stem the trend, it could lead to anachy, adding that the current situation would further compound traders’ woes .
Ubaka said: “The ripple effect is enormous, that is to say that inflation will be at a geometric progression and that is bad. And who suffers it, the masses!
“We started from N1.2million, to N3.2 and now we are approaching N8million, who suffers it? The masses! What we are saying is that the Customs does not even have a yardstick for it.
“There are modalities of increasing duty, they should be a procedure and it is contained in the Customs and Excise Act, CEMA.
In his reaction, Mr. Yusuf Danladi, a concern freight forwarder said that the current situation affects every Nigerian ,noting that “ every increase in duty payment will come back to us- the masses”.

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