“Businesses Are Dying”: Peter Obi Speaks As Customs Announces New Exchange Rate for Cargo Clearance

“Businesses Are Dying”: Peter Obi Speaks As Customs Announces New Exchange Rate for Cargo Clearance

  • For the 12th time, the CBN has decided to readjust the Nigerian customs import duty exchange rate for cargo clearance
  • The latest rate is the highest yet, exceeding N1,600, despite lawmakers' plea to keep the duty rate below N1,000
  • Seapking on the issue, Peter Obi called on the federal government to stop the constant changes as they are affecting businesses

Legit.ng journalist Dave Ibemere has over a decade of business journalism experience with in-depth knowledge of the Nigerian economy, stocks, and general market trends.

Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra state and presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections, has called on the federal government to halt the incessant exchange rate changes for Customs cargo clearance.

He noted that the development is affecting the general business climate in the country and could lead to the death of many businesses.

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Naira to dollar exchange rate
The CBN has once again increased Customs exchange rate to clear goods Photo credit: NCS
Source: Facebook

Legit.ng earlier reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria readjusted the Nigerian Customs exchange rate to N1,605.82 per dollar on Wednesday, February 21, 2024.

This represented a N133 or 9% increase within 24 hours compared to the N1,472.756 rate as of Tuesday, February 20.

The latest adjustment makes it the 12th change since June 2023.

Customs exchange rate changes since 2024

  • June 24, 2023: N422.30/$
  • July 6, 2023: N589/$
  • November 14, 2023: N770.88/$
  • December, 2023: N783.174/$
  • February 2, 2024: N951.941/$
  • February 3, 2024: N1,356.883/$
  • February 10, 2024: N1,413.62/$
  • February 11, 2024: N1,444.56/$
  • February 14, 2024: N1,481.482/$
  • February 15, 2024: N1,515.092/$
  • February 16, 2024: N1,472.756/$
  • February 21, 2024: N1,605.82/$

Peter Obi speaks on Customs exchange rate

Expressing his views via X, Obi, a businessman, stressed that high Customs revenues at the expense of the survival of local businesses, employment and reasonable cost of living were detrimental to the nation's economy.

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His words:

“I wish to urgently call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to end the inconsistency in duty charges as it is affecting the general business atmosphere in the country.
"The federal government should stop the arbitrary and ever-increasing Customs duties as it is now negatively impacting businesses and the cost of items, and this portends a huge danger to the economy.
“A situation where at the point of initiating importation, Form M and other documents related to importation are based on a particular rate of exchange, for example, N1000 to $1, being the prevailing exchange rate at the time which the importer of goods was used to calculate the entire process, from the import initiation to receipt of goods in his warehouse.
“Then suddenly when the goods arrive in Nigeria, and duties are calculated at different rates, say N1400 to $1, it becomes a serious business challenge that results in business losses. Worse still, it directly fuels the inflationary spike which is the basis of increasing cost of goods and living.

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"Such arbitrary charges will obviously lead to further closure of businesses, and attendant job losses. This is because at the time of the initiation of the business, calculations, including duties, have been made based on the prevailing exchange rate, and the prevailing market prices.
“If this situation is not corrected, our importers may resort to using ports of nearby countries, a situation that will leave our ports under-productive, and further deepen our economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue.”

He further disclosed that businesses were dying while manufacturers were shutting down because of the government's poor and inconsistent economic policies.

He added:

“The government should also show consistency in its policies as this will help with economic forecasting and business planning. Businesses are dying and manufacturers are shutting down because of the poor and inconsistent economic policies of the government.
“All efforts of the government should be directed at supporting businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector, to keep their businesses afloat and keep the economy growing, as the small business sector remains the most critical engine of economic growth.

Read also

CBN raises customs dollar rate to clear goods as naira sets new record in official, black markets

“We cannot afford to target high customs revenues at the expense of the survival of local businesses, employment and reasonable cost of living."

FG addresses naira-dollar exchange rate

Legit.ng earlier reported that Ben Akabueze, the director-general of the federation's budget office, said the Naira would strengthen in value in the foreign exchange market in 2024.

Speaking in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday, December 26, 2023, Akabueze said this would be possible as the country expects an increase in dollar supply.

He noted that the Tinubu-led government expects the reforms initiated in 2023 to start yielding results in 2024, which is why it maintains a positive stance on the exchange rate.

Source: Legit.ng

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