There was unease in the seaports on Thursday following the recent increase of the exchange rate for import duty payment from N326 per dollar to N361.
Our correspondent gathered that in line with the increment, the Nigeria Customs Service has 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 were being forced to pay duty far above what they had initially budgeted for.
Confirming the development, a port user, Frank Amasiaku said, “I went to work today and at DTI(Direct Trade Input), I was about punching (capturing) my work via the Customs portal, only for me to notice some changes in dollar (Customs duty) rate.
“For example, fixed dollar rate for vehicles before now was at N326/dollar but as of today, it has changed to N361.”
The Vice President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Dr Kayode Farinto, reportedly said the Customs had effected the changes without due consultation with relevant stakeholders.
He said the implication of the increment was that the cost of cargo clearance had increased.
The cost of products in the market would also be increased automatically, he added.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Miss Hadiza Bala-Usman, has appealed to freight forwarders and owners of goods at the nation’s seaports to remove their cargoes.
She disclosed that leading terminal operator, AP Moeller, had used up 90 per cent of its space to store goods.
Bala-Usman made the appeal in Lagos on Thursday, while fielding questions on the sidelines of the inauguration of two mobile harbour cranes recently acquired by the APM Terminal.