The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has, for the third time this year, increased the exchange rate for calculating customs duties at the nation’s seaports from ₦1,413.62/$ to ₦1,417.635/$.
With the upward review, Nigerians will pay more to clear their goods at the port because import duties are benchmarked against the dollar.
According to information obtained from the official website of the Nigeria Customs Service, the exchange rate was reviewed upward on Friday, 9 February.
This represents an increase of ₦4.015 and a percentage increase of 0.28 percent, which is below the official CBN exchange rate of ₦1,481.982/$ as of the morning of Saturday, February 10, 2024.
It was gathered that the current upward review of the exchange rate for calculating Customs import duty is the third in one week and also the third in 2024.
It is also the seventh time the apex bank has adjusted exchange in the space of eight months since President Tinubu’s administration commenced the floating naira policy, a reform aimed at stabilising the forex market.
The Customs had on June 24, 2023, adjusted the exchange rate from ₦422.30/$ to ₦589/$, and on July 6, 2023, it was adjusted to ₦770.88/$, on November 14, 2023, it was adjusted to ₦783.174/$, in December it was adjusted to ₦951.941/$, on February 2 it was moved to ₦1, 356.883/$ and on February 3, it was raised to ₦1, 413.62/$ and now it has been raised to ₦1,417.635/$.
Reacting recently in an interview, Bisiriyu Lasisi Fanu, former chairman of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents at Seme Border, said the frequency at which the CBN is adjusting the exchange rate has become worrisome, which is why there is so much overtime cargo at the port.
“CBN can’t change the rate and expect the importer who has made his calculation on what the landing cost and profit will be based on the previous exchange rate to survive. How do you expect the importer to generate the difference immediately to clear the goods from the port? It is not possible,” Fanu said.
He said the hike in Customs duty through high FX rates will affect all goods in the market because every commodity in the market has imported input in them.