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Nigerian vehicles importation agents lament high Forex rate

*Members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents complain the recent unification of the  exchange rate has resulted in a considerable reduction of vehicle importation at the ports

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Following the recent unification of Foreign Exchange (Forex) rate in the country, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Saturday, July 15, 2023, in Lagos, said floating of the Naira, the country’s currency, had caused a drop in vehicle importation at the ports.

The agents, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the vehicles imported into Nigeria were trapped at the ports due to the rise in exchange rate that has jacked up vehicle customs duties.

Alhaji Rilwan Amuni, Taskforce Chairman of ANLCA, noted the floating of the Naira was inevitable because the Federal Government wanted a uniform rate in the economy.

Amuni, however, urged the government to look into other levies paid at the ports.

The ANLCA chief also explained the challenges faced by Customs agents at the ports are enormous because of the high Dollar rate, which has hiked duties on vehicles to over 50 percent in recent times.

The Taskforce Chairman of ANLCA said: “The job we used to do after the advent of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in which we charged N1.4 million, is now like N2.2 million and this has resulted in vehicles being trapped in the ports.

“Also, there has been a drop in importation because things are really biting hard.”

He further disclosed that the development at the ports had affected goods already imported into the West African country.

The Customs agency have no choice but to clear vehicles at the current rate.

Appeal to government for review of Customs duty

He, therefore, urged the government to look into the levy placed on used goods, that they are proposing for a dialogue with the Federal Government on ways to jettison this levy so that there would be relief.

“Some people are confusing the tax that was suspended recently with the issue of levy.

“It is not the levy that they removed, it’s the Import Adjustment Tax that was supposed to have started,”  Amuni noted.

The Taskforce Chairman of ANLCA said: “We are appealing to the government to remove the levy because what does a poor man derive when he buys a Corolla 2004 and pays duty and fine again?

“The only goods that are supposed to have levy are luxury goods.

“Maybe you are a big man and you want to ride a yacht, or helicopter, that is what they are supposed to levy not on used goods.”

Commenting on the situation, Mr. Michael Imonitie, Secretary of the ANLCA TinCan Chapter, said goods were not being cleared at the port due to the challenge at the moment.

Imonitie disclosed that out of 100 importers, only 20 were taking their goods out of the ports, report stated.

According to him, this means that most goods will be incurring demurrage and overtime or even abandoned.

Imonitie noted: “We all know that there is going to be a negative effect on the clearance of vehicles at the port.

“Since the government announced a uniform exchange rate, the exchange rate has risen from N422.3 to N589.55 and now N770.88 which is a pure black market rate.

“The exchange rate of CBN is N756/N757, government was supposed to have given us a notice of either 60 or 90 days before implementation.

“This is because a lot of importers have opened their Form M at the old exchange rate.”

The Secretary of ANLCA TinCan Chapter also stated: “I have not seen any importers that have done any new importation. Most of the goods in the port are old stock.

“This means that the end cost of goods will be high. If I am being forced to pay the exchange rate twice what I have paid before it means that the end users will be the ones to suffer it.”

He added

“now, the importers are complaining and we want them to channel their complaints through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Commerce of Nigeria because their voices need to be heard.”

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