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50kg bag of Rice could cost #100,000 as Customs battle to meet #5 trillion target says Dr Muda Yusuf and Traders

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The nail biting hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians might be a permeable to the real suffering and high cost of living to be experienced in the near future if the words of Dr Muda Yusuf, the Chief Executive Officer of Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprises (CPPE) are anything to go by. Dr Yusuf based his projection on “the drastic upward review of the exchange rate for computation of import duties would further fuel inflation as production and operating costs escalate”

Only on Friday, 2nd February, 2024 alone, Nigeria Customs Service raised the Import Duty Exchange twice within 24 hours claiming it was “obeying the orders of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”. #5 trillion naira was the benchmark set for NCS. According to experts, the double quick fire adjustments increased the going duties across commodity lines by almost 49% in less than 48 hours.

Nigeria Customs Service on Friday adjusted the rate from#951.94/$ to #1356.8/$. “While the market was yet to fully digest the decision, it was further raised by over 4% on Saturday, to the current #1,413.6/$” reported the Guardian. The service said it was only obeying the official market as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. It will be recalled that since President Bola Ahmed Tinubu assumed office, the import Duty determination rate has been increased by 235%. As at May 2023 before the swearing in of President Tinubu, it stood at #422.3/$ as

Dr Yusuf explained further that “this would have a devastating effect on businesses across sectors, while the vulnerable segments of the population would be impoverished as cost-push inflation gets exacerbated”

The double quick fire adjustments have already impacted the market negatively with prices of goods including staple foods. Prices skyrocketed immediately over the weekend, www.pointblank.com.ng learnt. Most commodities especially cosmetics that sold for #2,200 was adjusted to #2,600. This was attributed to the high cost of clearing goods. “There are fears that the prices of rice, a staple food consumed by many Nigerian households, could see a further sharp rise in the coming days following the increase” he cautioned.

As at May 2023, a bag of 50kg of rice sold at #38,000 but it reportedly soared by almost 100% to #70,000 at the close of the year, following the hike in prices of fuel and importation. Traders said Nigeria should expect the essential item to hit #100,000 as the rising cost of imports feeds into the prices.

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