Agents Bemoan As CBN Hikes Forex From N321/$ To N361

Banks’ Borrowing from CBN Window Surges
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele

By Kenneth Jukpor

Nigerian freight forwaders have described the Federal Government as “inconsiderate” following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increment in exchange rate from N321 per dollar to N361 for imports earlier today.

Freight agents have been thrown into additional fiscal burden amid the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic on Nigerian citizens, as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) effected the increase on duty payable goods imported through the ports today.

Speaking with MMS Plus on this development, the Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Stanley Ezenga described the federal government as “inconsiderate”.

His words; “Earlier today, one of NAGAFF members tried to access his declaration but couldn’t. After a while he realized that the exchange rate has been changed from N321 per dollar to N361. This government is inconsiderate and has no regard for the masses.”

“How come they can proceed with such fiscal policy amid the pandemic and consequent lockdown. Freight forwarders are struggling to alleviate the numerous challenges at the ports and the government is aggravating the situation”

He lamented that the increase in forex would lead to an increment in prices of goods imported into the country as it has already increased the cost of importation.

According to him, terminal operators and shipping companies are yet to comply with government directive to waive charges and the government has worsened issues for port users.

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Dr. Kayode Farinto observed that agents found it difficult to make declarations since yesterday only to wake up this morning to see that exchange rate had increased.

“How can the government behave like this at a time Customs brokers are taking the highest risk to come to the ports as essential workers in order to move the economy forward?” he remarked.

He admonished the leaders in the maritime industry to prevail on the federal government to revoke the increment, noting that it may discourage importers and the agents.

“We need to maintain status quo for now because you will all agree with me that the oil sector has fallen but the government can still manage to continue to patch the economy with proceeds from maritime sector,” he opined.

He lamented that CBN had formed the habit making such costly fiscal desicions without seeking input of stakeholders, while he lampooned the management of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for similar behaviour.

Noting that Customs haven’t changed its mode of operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he suggested that Section 28 of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) be involved to reduce human contact.

Farinto added that ANLCA won’t hesitate to advice its members to stay at home and not risk their lives if the government allows the new exchange rate to continue.

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