Igbo traders reject hike in Customs import duty, says the increase was intended to crush Igbo firms as it is not based on the invoice value of consignments.
On Monday, the South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association challenged the Nigeria Customs Service’s recent hike in import duties on shipments.
SEAMATA is a trade union that represents traders in all markets in the geopolitical zone of the South-East, as well as traders of South-East ancestry in all states of the federation and the diaspora.
It claimed that the increase was not based on the invoice value of consignments and was intended to crush Igbo firms.
In a statement signed by the President General and Secretary-General, Chief Gozie Akudolu and Mr Alex Okwudiri, SEAMATA noted that the Customs had introduced a method of calculating import duty payments on goods and set out a specific minimum amount payable for each 40ft container, but that it had been abandoned.
The statement reads;
“Between 2020 and now, the amount charged on cargoes as import duties have risen in geometric proportion from N750,000 to N2m, again to N3m and presently, to N3.3m for 40ft containers; while 20ft containers jumped to N1.8m.”
The statement further noted that;
“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 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.”
The statement further reads;
“We are appealing 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. This is 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.”
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