Importers raises alarm over steady increase in Customs duties

 

The Automobile Manufacturers and Importers Association in Nnewi, Anambra State, has raised concerns over what it describes as the Federal Government’s continuous increase in customs duties.

The president of the association, Austin Jideofor, expressed dismay over the government’s directive to customs to escalate duties on a monthly basis, leading to hardship for the final consumers.

Jideofor highlighted that the relentless rise in customs duties has adverse effects on the Nigerian masses, resulting in increased prices of commodities such as rice, cement, building materials, spare parts, generators, and more.

He revealed that container duties were increased twice in January alone, and the percentage increase is over 30%.

The association president attributed the rise in customs duties to the government’s use of the exchange rate to determine duty payments, leading to an increase from N4 million to over N6 million and almost N9 million as of the interview.

He criticized the complexity of the clearance process, which involves various agencies and checkpoints, and ultimately transfers the expenses to the final consumers.

Jideofor called for a halt to the continuous increase in import duties, emphasizing that the current system is corrupt.

He appealed to President Bola Tinubu to address the outrageous increase in container duties, asserting that the prices of goods should not be determined solely by the rise in the dollar’s value.

The association president urged regulators to adopt a more transparent and predictable approach to setting import duties to alleviate the hardship faced by the Nigerian masses.

“As soon as Mr. President orders a halt to the increase in import duties, hardship will drop.

“Regulators are looking at the exchange rate. Nigeria is the owner of the wharf. Before now, some people were going to Cotonuo to clear their goods. We are jubilating that our refineries will soon start functioning so that the prices of petroleum products will go down.

“But the same thing will continue to happen, if the regulators look at the price of dollars to fix the prices of petroleum products.

“I travelled to Iran not long ago, and a friend of mine, a citizen of that country told me he was entitled to 50 litres of fuel every day because they are owners of the oil, what about Nigeria? Nigeria owns oil, and they should follow the Iran example,” he said.


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