By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi

THE Nigeria Customs Service yesterday confirmed an increase in the payment of import duty by as much as 22.24 percent, a development that may worsen the inflationary trend in the country.

Speaking at Silver Jubilee anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors held at the Lagos Travel Inn in Lagos, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Mr. Adewale Adeniyi said that the agency was not aware of the development until it was communicated by the Ministry of Finance adding that the agency only carry out the directive of government.

Adeniyi who was represented by the Customs Area Comptroller, Controller Dera Nnadi said that the service is not oblivious of what await importers adding that the agency will maximize its services delivery and work on clear cargoes as soon as they are processed.

He said: “I recognize the import of this exchange rate particularly when it is done without prior notice on trade.

“Before I came here I addressed freight forwarders and we recognize what the Nigerian business community is going through and there is little we can do about Fiscal and monetary policies, our role is to implement them.

“But we align ourselves with government policies because every decision taken is for the collective interest of the nation and I expect that we all abide by it

“What I said we should do as Customs which I told the freight forwarders and clearing agents this morning is that to mitigate the impact of what they are going to go through in the next few days is that we will maximize our service delivery by ensuring that importers do not incur demurrage and associated costs.”

Recall that in the month of May the import duty rate rose from N420,00 to N775,00 in August to N778,00 in November and N951,00.

Reacting to the development, Mr. Segun Oduntan, National Vice of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, said that there was nothing any body can do about it but appeal to government to assist Nigerians in the area of transportation by pegging the duty rate on buses and transport vehicles at zero duty.

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