Traders reject hike in Customs duty



The South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (SEAMATA) said it has rejected the recent increase in the import duty on cargoes charged by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). 

The group described the increment as “astronomical and indiscriminate”.

In a statement jointly signed by its President-General, Gozie Akudolu, and Secretary-General, Alex Okwudiri, in Enugu on Monday, the group said Customs introduced a method of working out import duty payment on goods and set out a particular minimum amount payable for each 40ft container. It said items with the least percentage tariff of five per cent are not spared under the new tariff structure. 

The statement reads in part: “Between 2020 and now, the amount charged on cargoes as import duties has risen in geometric proportion from N750,000 to N2 million, again to N3 million and currently, to N3.3 million for 40ft containers, while 20ft containers jumped to N1.8 million.

“The Nigeria Customs (Service), on their own, worked out payable import duty now based on estimated invoice value of consignment as against the actual invoice value of goods from the country of origin.

“This development is not only bringing untold hardships to importers but is also compounding the pains of the citizens as it dovetails to an astronomical increase in prices of imported goods as the Nigeria Customs estimated invoice value is always far above the actual cost of the imports.

“The indiscriminate estimate of (the) value of goods by Nigeria Customs is adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets today, both imported and locally-produced as it triggers a chain reaction. Even agricultural products are not spared in the chain effect of the price increase.”

The group appealed to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to prevail on the Customs to suspend the exercise.

“This is to save the Nigerian citizens from further economic hardships as further economic pains that follow such situations could lead to social unrest which our nation doesn’t need now,” the group added.