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Inconsistency in duty charges affecting general business atmosphere in Nigeria, Peter Obi tells FG

Inconsistency in duty charges affecting general business atmosphere in Nigeria, Peter Obi tells FG
  • PublishedFebruary 21, 2024

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has asked the Federal Government to end the inconsistency in duty charges by the Nigeria Customs Service.

Obi made this call in a statement via his verified X (formerly Twitter) handle on Wednesday.

The Labour Party leader said the inconsistency in duty charges is affecting the general business atmosphere in the country.

He warned that if this situation is not corrected, importers in the country may resort to using the ports of nearby countries, a situation that he noted will leave the Nigerian ports underproductive and further deepen the economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue.

Obi said, “I wish to urgently call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to end the inconsistency in duty charges as it is affecting the general business atmosphere in the country.

“The federal government should 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.

“A situation where at the point of initiating importation, Form M and other documents related to importation are based on a particular rate of exchange, for example, N1000 to $1, being the prevailing exchange rate at the time which the importer of goods was used to calculate the entire process, from the import initiation to receipt of goods in his warehouse.

“Then suddenly when the goods arrive in Nigeria, and duties are calculated at different rates, say N1400 to $1, it becomes a serious business challenge that results in business losses.

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“Worse still, it directly fuels the inflationary spike which is the basis of increasing cost of goods and living. 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.”

The former Anambra State Governor also advised the government to show consistency in its policies as this will help with economic forecasting and business planning.

He said that businesses are dying, and manufacturers are shutting down because of the poor and inconsistent economic policies of the government.

Obi stated, “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.”

Written By
Regina Robinson

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