Shippers decry high taxes, Customs duty

The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) yesterday said shippers and business owners paid over five trillion naira to the federal government in taxes and levies between 2013 and 2014.

SALS President, Rev. Jonathan Nicol said this at an interactive section with journalists yesterday.

Nicol said the heavy taxes and levies business owners and shippers are paying to the federal government has forced their relocation to neighbouring countries.

He asked the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the heavy taxes.

“One of the problems confronting shippers is the high cost of doing business in Nigeria. This particular problem need prompt attention by the federal government. The government import policy has to change to compete favourably with other maritime community.

“Compulsory levies fix upon the shoulders of Nigerian shippers should be reversed in order to attract shippers back to Nigerian ports as you all know a lot of cargoes have been diverted to other African countries.

“Seven percent port development levy was introduced to help improve port development for only five years but according to statistics, the levy has amounted to N730 billion.

“Apart from the above mentioned charges, there is the compulsory import service (supervision) scheme for computing Customs duty that importers are forced to pay. This is a statutory responsibility of the Nigeria Customs Service and in 2013, over N28billion was paid by shippers to Customs for performing their statutory responsibilities. This is improper and must be stopped,” he said.

He said Customs tariff should be reduced while the federal government should reverse the annual revenue target set for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

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