• Friday, May 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

More woes for importers as CBN raises exchange rate for customs duty again

Pressure mounts on importers as clearance fees adjusted to N952

.may stage protests

Importers of goods into Nigeria are crumbling under mounting pressure to clear their imports as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, for the fifth time this year, increased the exchange rate for computing Customs duties at the nation’s seaports.

The rate was reviewed on Wednesday morning, from N1, 444.56/$ to N1, 481.482/$, according to information obtained from the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service.

The rate increase means that importers will pay more to clear their goods as import duties are benchmarked against the dollar.

The latest review by the apex bank represents a 2.6 percent increase in the customs duty rate and an increase of N36.922 per dollar compared to the previous rate of N1, 444.56/$.

“The level of uncertainty in Nigeria’s business environment is increasing by the day. Importers are under pressure and unable to plan in a situation where the exchange rate is increasing very rapidly,” Tony Anakebe, a Licensed Customs agent, lamented in a chat with BusinessDay.

He said customs agents and freight forwarders were considering major protests if the situation continued unabated.

On February 2, the CBN adjusted the exchange rate for calculating import duties from N951.941/$ to N1, 356.883/$; on February 3, it was raised to N1, 413.62/$; on February 10 it was raised to N1,417.635/$; on February 12, it was reviewed to N1, 444.56/$ and today February 14, the rate has been raised to N1, 481.482/$.

Eugene Nweke, a clearing and forwarding expert, said the apex bank policy of frequent exchange rate adjustment is contributing to economic hardship and poverty in the land.

He said many businesses are closing shops and many citizens are also losing their jobs because companies are downsizing due to the hardship and unfriendly business environment.