• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
businessday logo


Stop arbitrary, ever-increasing customs duties; it’s affecting businesses – Obi tells FG

Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party in the last general elections, asked the federal government to stop the “arbitrary and ever-increasing customs duties,” saying that it is “negatively impacting businesses and the cost of items.”

Obi made this call in a statement released on his X account on Wednesday morning, urging the government to end the inconsistency in duties charges as it is affecting the business atmosphere in the country.

Business had earlier reported how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increased customs duties several times in a short period of time.

According to information obtained from the official trade portal of the Nigeria Customs Service, the rate was again reviewed upwards from N1, 493.23/$ to N1, 537.073/$ on Monday morning.

The review by the apex bank represents a 2.9 percent rise in the customs duty rate and an increase of N43.843 compared to the old exchange of N1, 493.23/$.

Obi noted that the arbitrary increase in customs duties is directly fueling the inflation rate and cost of living crisis in the country.

He said, “A situation where at the point of initiating importation, Form M and other documents related to importation are based on a particular rate of exchange, for example, N1000 to $1, being the prevailing exchange rate at the time which the importer of goods was used to calculate the entire process, from the import initiation to receipt of goods in his warehouse.

“Then suddenly when the goods arrive in Nigeria, and duties are calculated at different rates, say N1400 to $1, it becomes a serious business challenge that results in business losses. Worse still, it directly fuels the inflationary spike which is the basis of increasing cost of goods and living.”

The former governor of Anambra said the increase, if not quickly addressed, will lead to further business closures and attendant job losses.

“If this situation is not corrected, our importers may resort to using ports of nearby countries, a situation that will leave our ports under-productive, and further deepen our economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue,” Obi said.

He said all efforts of the government should be directed towards supporting businesses, saying, “We cannot afford to target high customs revenues at the expense of the survival of local businesses, employment and reasonable cost of living.”