July 25, 2024

Pathfinder News

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Traders Reject New Custom Import Duty

Igbo traders under the umbrella of the South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (SEAMATA), said it has rejected the recent increment in the import duty on cargoes charged by the Nigerian Customs Service. The group described the increment as “astronomical and indiscriminate”.SEAMATA is the umbrella union of traders in all the markets in Nigeria’s South-east and traders of South-east extraction doing business across the states in the country and in Diaspora.

Reports state that the group expressed their displeasure in a statement signed by its President-General, Gozie Akudolu, and Secretary-General, Alex Okwudiri, in Enugu. According to the statement, the Nigerian Customs introduced a method of working out import duty payment on goods and set out a particular minimum amount payable for each 40-ft container. The statement said: “Between 2020 and now, the amount charged on cargoes as import duties has risen in geometric proportion from N750,000 to N2 million, again to N3 million and currently, to N3.3 million for 40-ft containers, while 20-ft containers jumped to N1.8 million. “The Nigerian Customs, on their own, worked out payable import duty now based on “estimated” invoice value of consignment as against the actual invoice value of goods from the country of origin. “This development is not only bringing untold hardships to importers but is also compounding the pains of the citizens as it dovetails to an astronomical increase in prices of imported goods as the Nigerian Customs estimated invoice value is always far above the actual cost of the imports.

The group stressed that the indiscriminate estimate of the value of goods by Nigerian Customs is adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets today, both imported and locally-produced as it triggers a chain reaction. “Even agricultural products are not spared in the chain effect of the price increase.”

Meanwhile, it is reported that the NCS has been lobbying for the reinstatement of excise duty on soft drinks, which was repealed in 1993. According to Customs service, the return of excise duty would result in a large increase in income for the federal government. But on the other hand, manufacturers feel it will affect their revenue and lead to an increase in soft drink prices.