Peter Obi Fumes as CBN Hikes Cargo Clearing Rate to N1,605/$1

February 21, 2024
Cargo Clearing Rate

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has once again increased the exchange rate for customs cargo clearance by 9 per cent or N133.06 from N1,472.76/$1 to N1,605.82/$1.

The new rate, which has already been reflected on the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) portal, will further dampen the hope of importers, and trigger an increase in the price of imported products like food, fuel, spare parts, and phones, among others.

The CBN had recently reduced the exchange rate from N1,515.48/$1 to N1,472.756/$1 after the market eased following some recent policy steps.

This review will be the 12th since the foreign exchange (FX) market was floated in June last year to allow the Naira to trade freely as dictated by the whims of supply and demand.

On June 24, 2023, the CBN adjusted the exchange rate from N422.30/$ to N589/$, and on July 6, 2023, it was adjusted to N770.88/$. On November 14, 2023, it was adjusted to N783.174/$, and in December 2023, it was adjusted to N951.941/$.

Also, on February 2, 2024, it was moved to N1,356.883/$ and on February 3, it was raised to N1,413.62/$ before it was on Saturday, February 10 changed to N1,417.635/$.

On Monday, February 11, it was moved to N1,444.56/$1 and on Wednesday, February 14, the CBN adjusted the exchange rate to N1481.482/$1 and then adjusted it to N1,515.092/$1 on Thursday, February 15.

The House of Representatives decried the regular adjustments to the import duties rates, calling for its reduction and on Friday, February 16, 2024, the CBN reduced the rate to N1,472.756/$1 before hiking it again on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, to N1,605.82/$1.

The move has garnered reactions from many political actors, including the former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, who charged the federal government to stop the arbitrary and ever-increasing customs duties as it is now negatively impacting businesses and the cost of items, and this portends a huge danger to the economy.

The businessman, who contested in the 2023 general elections, said, “Such arbitrary charges will obviously lead to further closure of businesses, and attendant job losses. This is because at the time of the initiation of the business, calculations, including duties, have been made based on the prevailing exchange rate, and the prevailing market prices.”

“If this situation is not corrected, our importers may resort to using ports of nearby countries, a situation that will leave our ports under-productive, and further deepen our economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue,” he warned in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He pleaded with the government to show consistency in its policies as this will help with economic forecasting and business planning, adding that saving businesses should be a top priority.

“All efforts of the government should be directed at supporting businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector, to keep their businesses afloat and keep the economy growing, as the small business sector remains the most critical engine of economic growth.

“We cannot afford to target high customs revenues at the expense of the survival of local businesses, employment and reasonable cost of living,” he added.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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