Shippers Threaten To Abandon Goods At Port Over Hike In Custom Fares

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The Lagos State Shippers Association has decried the increase in Customs duty exchange rate and hinted that importers and exporters may start abandoning goods at the ports.

The President of the association, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, who disclosed this on Monday in Lagos said that the rate was increased from N197 to N282 to a dollar which had become “scourge” to shippers.

Mr Nicol said “Any distortion of that figure, obviously, will add to the clearing costs and the market prices of goods.
“Importers are then made to source for additional funds to meet the costs of clearance. When the costs of clearing goods go up, it will be passed to the final consumers.

“This in itself is a big challenge to the shipper. Goods caught in this regime will be grossly affected.

“Some (goods) will be abandoned in the ports for lack of funds,” he said.

The shipper further explained that this would increase the cost of doing business in Nigeria.

He said, “The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is handicapped due to the envisaged revenue target they must generate for the government.”
Nicol added that the situation could destroy import businesses expected in Nigeria.

“When you add the new terminal charges just increased by the operators, they are killing the “hen that lays the Golden Egg”.

The shipper also expressed the concern that inflation in the country would increase.

“The shipper will add all his costs and roll out new tariffs on his goods to break even,” Nicol said.

“We envisage that more goods would be sent to ports in neighbouring countries where they have almost stable cost regimes. Smuggling will also increase,” the shipper said.

The NCS, had through a circular issued to all Zonal Coordinators and Area Controllers on July 1, directed that all commands should be charging duties based on the new forex regime.

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