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More trouble for importers as Customs adjusts exchange rate to N770.88/$

Pressure mounts on importers as clearance fees adjusted to N952

Less than two weeks after the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) adjusted the exchange rate for cargo clearing at the port, the Service has again raised the rate to N770.88/$ from N422.3/$, according to the information obtained from Customs’ official website.

With the adjustment in the exchange rate, importers bringing goods through the nation’s seaports will now be paying more for import duty tariffs following the addition of N181.43 to any one dollar of the total value used in calculating duty.

Confirming this, Kayode Oloyede, Customs Area Controllers of Tin-Can Island Command of the NCS, informed all Customs Licensed Agents and other stakeholders in a circular dated 5th July 2023, that the Central Bank has directed the Customs to begin the implementation of the floating Naira regime.

In the circular titled, ‘Implementation of the floating foreign exchange rate regime,’ Oloyede, said the CBN has mandated the service to begin implementation of the policy.

“In recent times, there has been a fluctuation of the exchange rate for trade as a result of the introduction of the Floating Exchange Rate Regime instituted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Against this backdrop, the Central Bank of Nigeria has instructed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, including the Nigeria Customs Service to hitherto implement this policy. You are hereby notified of this new policy direction,” Oloyede said in the circular.

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Maritime industry analysts said the new policy means that there would be regular adjustments in the exchange rate for cargo clearance at the port in line with the market rate of the naira against the dollar.

Onome Monije, a clearing agent, said importers and their agents will be paying more for cargo clearance, adding that the increment will also affect cargo clearance at the port.

“The Federal Government recently increased the Dollar exchange rate for cargo clearing, from N422.30 to N589.45, now we are at N770.88 to a dollar. What it implies in simple terms is that, if clearing agents have a Debit Note that has not been paid on the system or Pre-Arrival Assessment Results (PAAR) or they have given you the value and you have not captured, it will affect you directly because the duty will increase and the person must pay the new value,” she explained.

With this, there would be an increase in import duty payable by clearing agents to the Customs, said Tony Anakebe, a Licensed Customs Agent.

He said the adjustment will also impact the market prices of goods as well due to high Customs tariffs.

He added that the new development will further drive inflation high as the importer will always peg the price of the finished goods at the rate that would cover all their costs.