Adewale Adeniyi, the Comptroller General of the service, made this statement in an interview on Arise Television on Wednesday.
The customs boss explained that the decision was part of the "repercussions" of the CBN's effort at enforcing a single FX window.
In December, the federal government increased import duties by as much as 22.24 percent, a development that operators said could worsen the inflationary trend in the country.
The increase, the third in 2023, reportedly drove the cost of clearing a 40-foot container from N7.3 million to N8.9 million.
But Adeniyi argued that customs could not independently or unilaterally use new exchange rates without recourse to the merged FX window.
He said, “The new administration has not made any pretension towards the fact that it was going to take a number of very bold decisions and reforms aimed at repositioning the Nigerian economy and reforms that will bring sustainable change over a long period of time.
“So one of the reforms that have been undertaken is the merger of the forex markets, the various segments of the forex markets, which have been merged in the very few days of the new administration.
“And so this has repercussions or effects on our operation. So what it means is that we cannot use rates independently that are not tallied or that are not specified through this merged window. So what we do is just to update our system.
“So it is not about costumes increasing the rates. We have nothing to do with whether the rates go up or whether the rates go down. We follow what is prescribed for us by the regulatory authority for monetary affairs, which is the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he said.
He stated that the deployment of technology was being used to address very complex and knotty issues confronting customs administration, stressing that some of the issues in the sector include the issue of port competitiveness and port efficiency.
“I’m also coming to office after eight years of the tenure of my predecessor who had a very strong personality. So this raises a number of challenges for me, coming in as an insider.