Group petitions Tinubu over import duty FX benchmark

The President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, has reached out to President Bola Tinubu, seeking his intervention to ensure the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) fully adopts the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) circular.

The circular, TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/001/007, dated February 23, advised using the closing FX rate on the date of opening Form M for import duty assessment and payment.

Amiwero highlighted that the apex bank had recommended the NCS and other related parties use the closing forex rate from the date of opening Form M for importing goods and calculating import duty.

The apex bank clarified that this rate would remain valid until the termination of the importation and clearance of the goods by importers. In a letter to the President, which was also copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Ministry of Finance, the CBN, and the NCS, Amiwero referenced Section 16 of the CBN Act of 2007.

This section mandates that the exchange rate of the Naira is to be determined periodically by a suitable mechanism devised by the apex bank for that purpose.

Amiwero argued that the NCS’ full adherence to the CBN’s circular would alleviate the current unpredictability and inconsistencies in import duty assessments and payments, which are detrimentally impacting trade and contributing to inflation.

He expressed concern over the trading difficulties exacerbated by fluctuating exchange rates, underlining the importance of a stable exchange rate regime for mitigating the hardships faced by importers and other participants in the international trade value chain.

The letter highlighted significant worries regarding the uncertainties surrounding the pricing structure of goods, leading to abnormally high final sales prices.

The letter explained that these issues, largely driven by fluctuating rates, have serious implications for the economy. Amiwero further pointed out that the mechanism to eliminate the uncertainties in import duty assessments, as detailed in paragraph five of the CBN circular, was to be implemented effective from February 26, 2024.

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