By Kenneth Jukpor
Following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) increment in exchange rate from N326 per dollar to N361 for imports on Thursday last week, freight forwaders have warned federal government of an impending inflation.
The port stakeholders have also lamented that the gains from collective efforts to get the ports operation amid the lockdown would be lost with the new exchange rate.
The intervention of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), among other government agencies, would be worthless if the increment isn’t revoked.
The President of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logisticians of Nigeria (APFFLON) Mr. Frank Ogunojemite made this remark when speaking with our correspondent on the new CBN exchange rate.
According to him, the increment is an act of wickedness on not just port users but the entire Nigerian populace who would suffer the consequent inflation.
His words: “This is simply an act of wickedness. While other nations are introducing various fiscal palliatives to sustain their economies, Nigerian government is making matters worse.”
“Nigeria isn’t the only country suffering from the drop in global oil prices. It’s true that the government is facing tough fiscal times, but this is when they should judiciously deploy the billions donated by organizations and individuals. At such difficult times, we should be talking about palliatives. This increment has made the efforts of NPA, Shippers’ Council, CRFFN, other port agencies and stakeholders worthless “
He appealed to the Ministry of Finance to revoke this increment, adding that there was no basis for such fiscal decision.
Meanwhile, the President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike added that the nation would lose billions to the inflation that would ensue.
“We want to follow this issue legitimately because we know that the federal government has begun to look inwards to generate revenue from the maritime sector. Nevertheless, this isn’t the right time to make such decision because of the pandemic.”
He stressed that other nations suffering the pandemic and the economic burden of falling oil prices didn’t resolve to devalue their currencies.
The ANLCA boss admonished the government to channel its attention towards fighting the coronavirus instead of churning out inconsiderate monetary policies.