The South-East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (S.E.A.M.A.T.A), in a letter titled SAVE OUR SOULS PLEASE, has written to the Honourable Minister Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, to intervene in the strangulating import duty from the Nigerian Customs.
According to them:
“We are directed by this Association to bring to you, the warm regards of her esteemed members and commend your dogged efforts in rebuilding and repositioning the economy of our nation.
“The South East Amalgamated Markets Traders Association (S.E.A.M.A.T.A) is the umbrella Association of traders in all Markets in the five States of the South East Geo-political Zone and traders of South East extraction doing business across the States in the Federation and in the diaspora.
“We are pressed to bring to your notice, the choking problems which our members, especially the importers are encountering with the Nigerian Customs in the course of our businesses, which is fast killing our businesses and adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets. The Nigerian Customs are really pressing the necks of our members so hard that our businesses are choking.
“While your traders-friendly administration is working very hard in making ease of business seamless for the traders through policies and programmes like the establishment of free trade zones and monetary assistance to traders and SMEs across the Federation, the Nigerian Customs seem to be throwing spanner into the works to forestall the ease of doing business of your administration.
“The Nigerian Customs introduced a method of working out import duty payment on goods and set out a particular minimum amount payable for each forty-feet container. Items with the least percentage tariff of 5% are not spared. Import duties are no longer calculated based on invoice value of consignments.
“Between 2020 and now, the amount charged have risen in geometric proportion from seven hundred and fifty thousand naira (750,000) to two million naira, again to three million naira and presently to three million,three hundred thousand naira for fourty-feet containers, while twenty-feet containers jumped to one million,eight hundred thousand naira.
The Nigerian Customs on their own, work out import duty now based on “estimated” invoice value of consignment as against the actual invoice value from the county of origin.
“This development is not only bringing untold hardships to importers but is adversely affecting the prices of goods in the markets especially when you consider also the very high foreign exchange rate.This has in turn,began to trigger its multiplier effect on the prices of local goods and agricultural products.
“It is in the light of the foregoing, that the Association is most humbly and respectfully appealing to the Honourable Minister to use her good offices to prevail on the Nigerian Customs to rescind the use of estimated invoice value to calculate payable import duty on cargoes. We make this appeal because the Nigerian Customs will not make this reversal except you prevail on them. Honorable Minister, Sir, please SAVE OUR SOULS.
“As we expect your favourable intervention, do please accept the assurances of our members most esteemed regards.”
Photo credit: nairaland forum