By DAPO OLAWUNI
Despite the biting effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on Nigerian citizens, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased the exchange rate for goods importation at Nigerian ports from N326 per dollar to N361, DAILY TREND NEWS can authoritatively report.
In line with the increment, the Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday effected an increase in duty payable on cargoes imported through the ports.
The development has caused tension at the ports as importers and freight forwarders who spoke with DAILY TREND NEWS lamented that they are being forced to pay duty far above what they had initially budgeted for.
Vice President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto confirmed to our correspondent exclusively that the Customs had effected the changes without due consultations with relevant stakeholders.
The implication of this increment according to the ANLCA Vice President is that the cost of cargo clearance would be increased as duty would have to increase. The cost of products in the market would also be increased automatically.
He lamented that clearing agents who have completed their transactions based on the old rate of N326 per dollar are no longer able to take delivery of their consignment because it could not be imputed it into the system.
“We woke up this morning to find d our that the rate has been changed on the Customs system without any consultation or sensitisation
“The government is behaving as if we are in a military era, not even in the face of this COVID-19 when every country is trying bring down the hardship of its citizens, this our government is confused”
“There should have been a minimum of three months notice so that whatever transaction we are making anywhere in the whole world, we would adjust it”
“The increase in the rate of the international price of dollar is not an excuse, most of the importers are sourcing their dollars from black market, the government ought to have latched on to this small window, knowing that a barel of oil is just $10 now, if you kill the maritime industry, our economy is finished” he said
Also speaking, Chairman of PTML Chapter of ANLCA, Elder Oluwole Obey confirmed that clearing agents are agitated over the increase.
“The implication is that all items would now be expensive in the market, an agent that has imported his cargo since last week, only for him to clear the cargo now they are asking him to pay additional N400, there is going to be a lot of trouble, the importer may not be willing to give him extra money”
Agents are agitated but we I am appealing to them for calm, by next week, we would have a general meeting with them. I am presently consulting with my executives” he said.
Another stakeholder, Mr. Godfrey Emeka described the increment as an insensitivity on the part of Nigerian federal Government.