Importers express concerns over over surging import duty, appeal for govt intervention

By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi
Importers in Nigeria are deeply troubled by the escalating import duty costs resulting from the current foreign exchange rate in the country. These import duties have surged by over 200% compared to previous rates, significantly impacting the cost of imported goods a development that has disproportionately affects Nigerian importers, as Nigeria primarily relies on imports for various goods and commodities.
Speaking on the development, President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji said that As Customs agents representing importers, they have written to be management of the Nigeria Customs Service seeking explanation as to the discrepancies in import duty payments.
Nwokeoji also said that Customs need to explain the criteria adopted in increasing import duty adding they are yet to hear from the management of the Customs Service.
He stated that the group is aware of what is contain in the transaction value of cargoes noting that what the Nigeria Customs Service has done is at variance with what is obtainable.
He said: “We have written to the Comptroller General of Customs , we are waiting for their response, they need to explain the criteria they used in raising duty because we know what the book says.
“We wish to draw attention to the fact that Nigeria is predominantly an importing nation, relying on international trade for a significant portion of its consumption needs. The recent surge in import duty due to the volatile exchange rate will inevitably burden the average Nigerian consumer – the final recipient of these imported goods.
“The cost of trade has always been a significant concern for importers, and the sudden increase in import duty rates further exacerbates this challenge. The economic realities faced by importers in Nigeria today are directly impacting their ability to source and supply affordable goods to meet the needs of the Nigerian population.
“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 into higher prices for imported goods, thus burdening the average Nigerian 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, the escalating import duty rates threaten the continuity of import-driven businesses, which will inevitably have a ripple effect throughout the economy.
“We call upon the relevant authorities and stakeholders to urgently review the current import duty structure and devise comprehensive measures to address these challenges. It is crucial to strike a balance between generating revenue for the government and maintaining a favorable environment for importers to contribute positively to the Nigerian economy.
“Importers in Nigeria remain committed to providing the Nigerian population with affordable and quality goods. However, we foresee that unless action is taken promptly to address the grievances caused by the surging import duties, the burden will be shouldered by the average Nigerian consumer.
“As importers, we stand ready to collaborate with the government, regulatory bodies, and industry stakeholders to find sustainable solutions that protect both importers and consumers in Nigeria.”

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