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Customs Pegs Import Duty Exchange Rate At N282/US$

hamid alliFollowing  the release of the new foreign exchange policy, the Nigeria Customs Service has pegged import duty rate at N282 to a dollar with effect from July 1.

This may result in higher duty for imports made before the new policy was introduced. The implication of the increment is that more cargoes may be abandoned at the ports.

The Customs service had earlier in the year attempted to adopt exchange rate of N285 for the purpose of calculating payable duty and rates, but the move was truncated. The Customs Public Relations Officer; Mr. Wale Adeniyi, had, at the time, denied the report, stressing that the extant rate issued by Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which was N197, remains the basis for duty calculation.

However, the Public Relation Officer of the Tin Can Island Port Customs Command, Mr. Chris Osunkwo, confirmed that the Customs rate for duty calculations had finally been changed at commands across the country to N282 per dollar.

He said: “From our system, the exchange rate has been changed to N282.” Foreign currency He said, a circular issued by the CBN to the Customs in 2016, stated that payable duty on all imports would be calculated based on the exchange rate at the time of placing import order.

This fact, he said  is contained in the circular dated May 28, 2015/No 015, titled: Application of Exchange Rate at the Time of Making Entry. The circular said: “Where the value of imported goods is shown in foreign currency, such value is to be converted to the equivalent of Nigerian currency as at the rate at the time of making declaration to Customs.

“Going by the provisions of this circular, it is quite clear and incontrovertible that the exchange rate has changed.” Osunkwo, however, said  that determining the duty payable  was not a Customs affair, stating that the directive is from the CBN and Customs only applies the provisions of the circular.

According to him, “it means that if by tomorrow the dollar drops to N200, it means we would apply N200. “For quite some time, we have been too liberal such that the exchange rate (no matter what prevailed) still remains at N197, but if you go by the law, it means that we have to adjust to the the prevailing foreign exchange market rate.”

He said  some clearing agents had expressed worry at the development and had consequently been asking questions. He, however, assured that clarification had been made to the agents.



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