Customs: Forex scarcity affecting imports

The Nigeria Customs Service has expressed concerns over the rate of decline witnessed in the importation of cargoes into the country in recent times.

The acting Comptroller General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, who made the disclosure while addressing journalists at Tincan Island Port, recently, blamed the exchange rate for the drop in importation.

He explained that duties payable by importers is dependent on the dollar, adding that any change in the rate will affect the duty.

“Season customs agents who understand the dynamics of the trade would also understand what is evolving in international trade. Tax base for all these items are the same and when we are talking about tax base, we are talking about cost, insurance and freight. The rate of duty is also the same. But we know that this tax base is dependent on a factor that is variable which is the exchange rate. The exchange rate has been in some situation for some time now, you know and I also know it,” he explained.

According to Adeniyi, “The issue about the duty rate doesn’t affect the customs or agents alone. Some people might talk about the fact that our revenue will increase but what will happen to the cargo. We have walked round the whole of this terminal to assess the situation.  We can see the direct effect on this particular terminal alone, there are vehicles we don’t even get much revenue on. Imagine what is happening in other terminals. So, in terms of cargoes we know that the volume is also going down by the day.”

He urged importers and their agents to make efforts toward bringing more dollars into the system by focusing more on exports than imports.

“So it is not about demonstration or carrying placards, it is about us collectively taking action that will help to shore up the value of the naira,” he admonished.

The Customs boss also said that getting rid of overtime cargoes is a process which the agency will soon commence. “The overtime cargo is a process decongesting the ports, getting rid of overtime cargoes is a process, we have initiated the process and I can assure you that in the next few days we will start seeing the process we have initiated,” he added.

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