Customs Revises Rate to N783/$, Importers Face Increased Costs amid 70% Decline

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) has revised its exchange rate calculations for import duties from N770.88/$ to N783.174/$, following the floating of the Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) five months ago.

The new rates, which were reflected on the NCS portal yesterday, will guide importers and clearing agents in their quotations and payments for new jobs, according to stakeholders in the import and export value chain.

The CBN had authorised banks to sell foreign exchange freely at market-determined rates, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to ensure a single exchange rate regime.

However, the economic hardship caused by some economic policies of the new administration, as well as the Federal Government’s trade and fiscal policy measures on duty rates, tariffs, excise levies and taxes, has led to a 70 per cent drop in importation into the country.

The cost of clearing cargoes in Nigeria is also higher than other African countries and is considered the most expensive in the West and Central Africa hub.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, said during a recent meeting with port stakeholders that this has resulted in the problem of abandoned and overtime cargoes, which reduce the storage capacity at the ports.

He said some of the cargoes have been left at the ports for over 10 years due to bottlenecks in clearing them, and that some cargoes meant for Nigeria are diverted to ports of Ghana, Togo, Cameroon and other neighbouring countries due to their lower cost of clearing goods.

To address this issue, the NCS has inaugurated a committee to speed up the decongestion of overcrowded ports burdened by overtime cargo. The Comptroller-General of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, inaugurated the Disposal of Overtime Cargo Committee on Wednesday, in Abuja.

He said the new Customs Act 2023 empowers the NCS to dispose of containers that have exceeded their allotted time within the ports through a court order and public auction or tender, which will be widely publicized in advance through national newspapers, television and the service’s official website.