Nigerians Wail as FG Adjusts FX Rate for Import Duty to N952/$1

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By Adedapo Adesanya

Some Nigerians have expressed anger over the upward review in the foreign exchange (FX) rate, a move that could see imported goods and by extension, domestic products record surge in prices at a time when the country is battling a high cost of living.

The federal government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has hiked the duties payable on imported goods at Nigerian ports.

Business Post gathered that the upward review of prices showed the US Dollar equivalent had been put at N951.941/$1 while for the Euro, the rate was pegged at N1,030.762/1 and the Pound Sterling was put at N1,202.87/£1, according to data obtained from the website of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Before now, the exchange rate for customs duty was pegged at N783/$1.

It was the fourth time the exchange rate for cargo clearance was raised this year.

The CBN had, in June, adjusted the exchange rate from N422.30/$1 to N589/$1. In July, it was adjusted to N770.88/$1, while in November, it was adjusted to N783.174/$1.

This year saw prices of new cars shot up extensively, especially after the devaluation of the Naira and the increase in exchange rates for clearing imports. This, in turn, affected the demand for used cars, with prices shooting up as much as 150 per cent.
Experts have said the move would lead to an increase in the cost of doing business and induce inflation as well as investments.
One such reaction came from the Secretary General of the Association of Concerned Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, Mr Jonny Ubaka, who said the development would result in higher inflation.

According to him, “We just woke up this morning to find out that the exchange rate has been jerked up and it has also jerked up the N7.3 million that we use to pay for clearing a 1×40 container to N8.9 million.

“The official exchange rate is now N952 to a dollar. Customs will not consider when and how much an importer bought his/her goods. Any file that gets to Customs today, will use the new rate. The effect is that the economy will be affected and the cost of such goods will also go up.

“Imagine where N1.6 million is added to the cost of clearing goods at the port, the masses will also suffer because the importer has no option than to add it up to the cost of the goods and the prices at the point of buying it will also go up.”

A Lagos-based businesswoman, Mrs Modupe Adediran, told this newspaper that the new development would increase the cost of goods in the country.

“This government is acting like it is determined to impoverish Nigerians. This new rate has shown that the exchange rate in the black market will not fall below N1,100/$1 any time soon,” she said.

Another respondent, Mr Chukwu Sunday, who sells second-hand electronics in Lagos, said the new rate for cargo clearance will affect his business, noting that it would be difficult for customers to purchase his items.

Measures to tame inflation have also not succeeded as it increased by 27.33 per cent in October 2023 relative to the September 2023 headline inflation rate which was 26.72 per cent.
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