Ondo senator seeks lower tariffs on imported goods

The Senator representing Ondo North and a member of the Senate Committee on Customs and Excise, Olajide Ipinsagba, has called for a reduction in the tariffs on imported goods due to the rising exchange rate of the naira against major international currencies.

Tariffs, also known as customs duties, are taxes imposed on goods and services that cross international borders, typically levied by the government of the importing country.

Ipinsagba highlighted the need for this adjustment because of the difficulties faced by clearing agencies at terminal ports and the impact on Nigerians.

During a public hearing held by the Senate Committee on the Nigeria Customs Service, the Senator voiced concerns about the hardships Nigerians are enduring, particularly in light of the fuel subsidy removal and the naira’s fluctuation.

In a statement released by his media office in Abuja on Saturday, he emphasised the importance of the Nigeria Customs Service finding a middle ground to alleviate the consequences of high exchange rates on critical imported goods.

Ipinsagba argued that while the Customs may not control exchange rates, it should aim to balance the tariff percentages used in calculating customs duties to mitigate the economic strain on Nigerians.

He said, “We know that the NCS is not the cause of the high exchange rate. It was caused by the CBN policy. However, Nigerians are suffering and they are feeling the pain.

“I think the Customs should strike a balance to cushion the effects by reviewing the tariff percentage.

“If we look at the fact that we are going to pay much as a result of the exchange rate, can’t we work something around the tariff percentage that we use in calculating the amount payable as import duty?”

He noted that the delay in processing Pre-Arrival Assessment Report, and alleged that the malfunctioning of Customs equipment coupled with humongous charges and penalties were creating further hardship for Nigerians

The senator said all the encumbrances in the processes were often reflected in the cost of the imported products and would invariably affect the end users.

He charged the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, and his team to help bring succour to Nigerians due to the untold hardship being experienced in the land.

It will be recalled that the Senate panel, last week, said it will review upward, of the N5.079tn 2024 revenue target of the NCS from the second half of the year.

The Committee argued that the decision was to save the country from further borrowings.

The panel’s chairman, Senator Isah Jibrin stated this at a meeting with the top management of the revenue agency.

Jibrin had said, “First of all, Nigeria is saddled with a lot of debt obligations and we need to wriggle ourselves out of that trap and one of the ways to do that is internally generated revenue.

“Customs is one of the major providers of internally generated revenue and as it is today, we expect them to play one of the major roles in this drive to reduce our debt burden.

“We need to pay off what we owe now and minimize additional loans we are going to take.

“Customs is in a very good position, if they can block all perceived leakages, they should be able to generate a significant amount of income that will enable Nigeria to get out of debt, at least partially.”

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