SOUTH EAST TRADERS REJECT IN STRONG TERMS, THE NEW INCREMENT IN CUSTOMS IMPORT DUTY:
The South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (S.E.A.M.A.T.A), the umbrella union of traders in all the markets in the South East Geo-political Zone and traders of South East extraction doing business across the States in the Federation and in diaspora, very strongly condemn and reject in its entirety, the recent astronomical and indiscriminate increment in the import duty on cargoes charged by Nigerian Customs.
The Nigerian Customs introduced a method of working out import duty payment on goods and set out a particular minimum amount payable for each 40ft container. Items with the least percentage tariff of 5% are not even spared. Import duties are no longer calculated based on invoice value of consignments.
Between 2020 and now, the amount charged on cargoes as Import duties have risen in geometric proportion from seven hundred and fifty thousand naira (750,000) to two million naira, again to three million naira and presently, to three million, three hundred thousand naira for 40ft containers, while 20ft containers jumped to one million, eight hundred thousand naira.
The Nigerian Customs on their own, work 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 dovetailed to 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 indiscriminate estimate of value of goods by Nigerian Customs is adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets today both imported and locally produced as it triggered a chain reaction. Even agricultural products are not spared in the chain effect of the price increase.
In the general meeting held in Onitsha on Wednesday,24th November,2021, the traders resolved to very strongly condemned and rejected the increment and appealed to the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to prevail on the Nigerian Customs to, as a matter of urgency, suspend the exercise to save the Nigerian citizens from further economic hardships as further economic pains that follow such situations could lead to social unrest which our nation doesn’t need now.
We pray and expect that this appeal shall be favourably considered.
Chief Gozie Akudolu (Iroko)