Smuggling, which involves the import or export of goods in violation of the law especially without payment of appropriate customs duty, has adverse effects on the economy. Despite government policies to discourage smugglers, the rate of smuggling in Nigeria is still on the rise. Oluwatoyin Amao samples the opinion of young Nigerians on what they think about this economic crime.
The state of the nation’s borders is nothing short of porous and situation poses threat to local investment which has resulted in loss of revenue for the nation. Tax rates can differ between neighbouring countries by large amounts, meaning goods are cheaper in one country than another. This is usually counteracted by import duties and therefore smuggling is a way of getting around this. Administration associated with the excise tax can also be complicated and costly, adding an extra burden on the importer.
The differing rates can influence the market and make competition distorted. Political choices on which goods are taxable and the rates for those goods can have a huge impact, for example while alcohol and tobaccos are prime candidates for smuggling because they are usually heavily taxed, protective policies to encourage local industry can cause interesting items to become the subject of smuggling operations. Business licensing and employment legislation can also be costly and affects profit margins of importing companies; smuggling operations most likely operate outside of this framework. Due to these reasons and ridiculous bribes which have to be paid, people prefer to smuggle goods than go through the proper channels.
From my own point of view, smuggling means illegal import and export of goods without the permission of the government and without paying custom duties. It is thus, a very serious crime which consequently harms not one or two persons but affects the welfare of the whole nation and factors that account for this unhealthy trend in Nigeria are, firstly, high cost of clearing goods in our ports and the laxity of those changed with theresponsibility in the country. Due to these issues, people benefiting from the smuggling are many, agencies and officers who are corrupt benefits massively from it which increases the act of smuggling in Nigeria.
The second is economic demands. Many contraband goods demand are higher and cheaper from the source. We as Nigerians have some norms or believe for foreign goods, for instance if a pair of shoe is imported, people believe it is original but when it is made in Nigeria, it is fake. This ideology will always increase the level of importation thereby leading to smuggling. The third is the selling price.Most times foreign goods are always cheaper than the locally made goods because of the high cost of production of the items. We Nigerians want cheap and quality things. So how do we blend this balance? Fourthly, mis-invoicing of international trade; transactions are having a significant impact on most of African economy due to fraudulent financial transactions in Nigeria and finally, unemployment.An idle hand is the devil’s workshop. The drastically increasing rate of unemployment has in no small measure aided the influx of youths in the business as they become more vulnerable in the hands of these perpetrators.
Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.
My view on smuggling means illegal transportation of objects or substances. Firsitt is high import duties levied on goods, cost of clearing goods in our ports which makes most people feel it’s better to smuggle goods into the country than paying import duties. The high rate of unemployment because of the economic situation has given avenue to it and most of our leaders have more hands on this smuggling issue, all we need is to join hands together both citizens and the government to make our country a better place. If government can make duties favourable, importers and exporters would pay their fees as at when due and this will curb smuggling.
Alimosho, Lagos state.
To evade taxes and duties for personal gains, in order to make more profit. Sometimes government policies are not favourable, so people tend to struggle, like the rice issue we have. It’s cheaper to smuggle goods in than to produce it and for made in Nigeria goods, it would cost more due to lack of facilities. Most people do not have a means of providing for t their families and as a result of that, smuggling becomes the next option for them. Smuggled items are banned goods such as alcohol drugs, cigarettes, canned foods to mention a few. They are in high demand and that is what people would always want to patronize.
The reason why the rate of smuggling is high is due to the fact that people smuggle in cars because it is cheaper and durable and it cannot be compared to the purchase prize here in Nigeria. Poultry food are smuggled like chicken and turkey because it is a profiting business once the goods escape from the shores of Custom, the key factors: low cost, no/minimal local production of such products, high demand of some goods than the country can supply, inferiority of Nigerian products and it is also profiting business for people that engage in it.
I think the rate of smuggling in Nigeria is high due to several reasons. The first reason would be Customs duty and dtax being paid is high for importers and they would rather risk bringing it through the back door than going through the right way. Another reason I think is corruption. Importing of goods, products materials are done subjected to so many bureaucratic forms which leads to importers paying bribes to get their documents for goods. Also, I think the ban of forex on certain goods which are more essential to the people. The so called importers then try to find all possible means to make them available in Nigeria.
The rate of smuggling in Nigeria is high due to instability because the rate of indecision of stability affect smuggling and government not being able to differentiate between fake and real goods affect the country. Inflation and deflation; they both have negative effect on the rate of high smuggling and the persistent increase in price of commodity bring in smuggling because the masses who are traders cannot afford to pay money on their goods, so they try to smuggle it into the country by all means. Embargo and quota system; the placing of embargo on sea and at airport on goods and commodity makes people smuggle because the price are even higher than the amount the commodity is being purchased; corruption: smuggling rate are ushered and also sponsored by the internal board of people operating in the airport, seaport and various office because they collect bribe and money; insecurity: Nigeria, over the years have faced challenging situation to insecurity and it has increased the rate of smuggling because it affect productivity, various smuggling check point in Nigeria are not put in place and proper search are not made in Nigeria so it enables smuggling of goods and others related; and directive measure: Not being able to impose government directives even in Nigeria. Government give directives and is not in use, especially on goods and products. The issue of directives and procedure is not put in place on smuggled goods.
Lokoja, Kogi State.
The rate of smuggling is high because of the rate of poverty and unemployment affecting the youth especially. When items are smuggled, no duty and import fees are paid therefore lesser money is paid to bring in items. Those items smuggled are usually in very high demand which makes the products more wanted therefore smugglers inflate the price.
I feel the taxes placed on imported goods are high and the laws placed on them are demanding, as a result of this people are forced to smuggle in items into the country. The restrictions placed on items are uneasy for people to bear with that is why smuggled items are being patronized.
Smuggling refers to the illegal transportation of objects, substances, information or even people across an international border. Smuggling of goods into Nigeria is quite prevalent and the central reason for this is the undeniable inherent corruption in the country. People resort to it as a result of engagement in illegal trades, financial gains, tax evasion among other reasons.
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