Inflation: Nigerian Government Must Stop All Arbitrary, Inconsistent Customs Duty Charges – Peter Obi | #NwokeukwuMascot

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 Mr Peter Obi 
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has asked the President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government to immediately stop what he described as "arbitrary, ever-increasing and inconsistent" Customs duty charges.

Obi, a former governor of Anambra State who made the demand on Wednesday in a series of posts on his X (formerly Twitter) handle said that the inconsistency in  Customs duty charges was affecting the general business atmosphere in Nigeria.

According to him, it directly fuels the inflationary spike which is the basis of increasing cost of goods and living, stressing that such arbitrary charges will obviously lead to further closure of businesses, and attendant job losses.

He said, “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. 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.” 

Obi pointed out that if the situation was not corrected, Nigerian importers may resort to using  ports of nearby countries, a situation he said would leave Nigerian ports under-productive, and further deepen the country’s economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue. 

He said that the Nigerian government should also show consistency in its policies as this will help with economic forecasting and business planning, noting that “Businesses are dying and manufacturers are shutting down because of the poor and inconsistent economic policies of the government.”

Obi said that “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. 

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

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