Customs brokers under the aegis of the Association Concerned Freight Forwarders (ACFF) have commenced moves against the recent increment in the payment of import duties, a development they said would further trigger inflation in the economy.
Speaking to newsmen after a meeting at the RockView Hotel in Lagos, the Convener of the meeting, Mr. Ndubisi Uzoegbo, said that the leadership of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, increased import duty by 200 percent, lamenting that people are trading in Nigeria at great risk.
Uzoegbo also said that besides the increase in import duty, shipping companies and terminal operators have also increased their charges by over 70 percent without recourse to its impact on people.
He added, “The system we are operating is no more favourable to us, the increment in duty payable is affecting us. As it stands now, we can no longer pay our workers. The shipping companies’ increment and the terminal operators’ increment are unacceptable.
“Every practitioners of freight forwarding, including the transporters, will be mobilized to protest this arbitrary charges because we can’t continue this way and if we want this country to work, we have to get it right and the time is now”.
Similarly, Jonny Ubaka, Coordinator of the group, said that if urgent steps were not taken to stem the trend, it could lead to anarchy, adding that the current situation would further compound traders’ woes.
He stated: “There are modalities of increasing duty, there is a procedure and it is contained in the Customs and Excise Management Act, CEMA”. Commenting on the development, Mr. Yusuf Danladi, a concerned freight forwarder, said that the current situation affects every Nigerian, noting, “every increase in duty payment will come back to the final consumer”.