Import duty to rise further as CBN adjusts dollar exchange rate to N316
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) may soon adjust the import duties on cargoes coming into the country as the exchange rate of the naira to the United States dollars crashed further on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official exchange window this week.
According to figures published on the CBN website, the nation’s local currency now officially exchanges for N316 to the dollar, as at Wednesday. The naira had declined further yesterday from the N300 it traded on the official exchange window last week.
If Customs adjusts the import duty rate using the new CBN exchange rate, tariffs on cargoes coming into the country will rise by 12.1%.
The NCS had, through a memo issued to all zonal coordinators and area controllers on July 1, 2016, directed that all commands should begin to charge duties based on the foreign exchange regime of N282 at the time.
The circular, signed by Deputy Comptroller-General, Tariff and Trade, A. Adewusi, said the calculation of customs duties based on the N197 to one US dollar exchange rate was no longer tenable. But the application of N282 to the dollar to calculate import duty rates led to a 43% increase on duties payable on imports.
“Customs has to work with the official exchange rate. We expect adjustment to reflect N316, which is the prevailing official exchange rate, anytime soon,” a Customs Comptroller at the Customs headquarters, Abuja, who did not want his name mentioned because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Tuesday.
However, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) have complained that the operations of the NCS is shrouded in secrecy as their members have not been engaged in the implementation of new policies by the Customs management.
“Customs is not in the habit of circulating circulars to Customs agents. That is why the officers on the field continued to extort our members.
“Circulars from Customs about operations on what you have to do or comply with should be made public. Why the secrecy? Even now if you are bringing a vehicle into the country, you don’t know how much you have to pay until you go to the Customs and start asking questions.
“They will tell you rates based on their discretions without showing you the official benchmark. Why shouldn’t people know? If you are talking about transparency in a new government, then everything should be open so that if you are bringing in a vehicle you already know how much to pay,” he said.
The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has said that its members might be forced to abandon their cargoes at the port due to the high import duty imposed on them.
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