Brace for Abandoned Cargoes & Lower Imports as CBN Hikes Customs Rates to N1,356.9/$1 (Experts Warn)

Brace for Abandoned Cargoes & Lower Imports as CBN Hikes Customs Rates to N1,356.9/$1 (Experts Warn).

Following the adjustment of exchange rate on the single window for trade by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from N951.941/$1 to N1,356.883/$1 experts have predicted rise in the number of cargoes that would be abandoned at the seaports.

They also predicted that the hike will fuel rise in inflation as prices of goods will go up and significant reduction in the volume of import into the country.

Recall that the CBN on June 24, 2023 adjusted the exchange rate from N422.30/$1 to N589/$1 and on July 6, 2023 it was adjusted to N770.88/$1, on November 14, 2023, it was adjusted to N783.174/$1, December 7, 2023, it was adjusted to N951.941/$1 and currently, it is N1,356.883/$1.

“Importers are caught unaware, they will have to pay more to get their cargoes cleared out of the seaport so, those who cannot raise the money will abandon their cargoes in the port especially if the hike erodes their gains,” Ikemefuna Chukwu, a frontline clearing agent stated.

“What increase in exchange rate implies in simple terms is that, if clearing agents have a Debit Note that has not been paid on the system or Pre-Arrival Assessment Results (PAAR) or they have given you the value and you have not captured, it has affected you directly.”

“We just believe that maybe with time, we will see low exchange rate and it will become beneficial to the importers as well because once there is a change in the portal, there is nothing anybody can do about it. But if you have captured or access your work, you are good to go and your consignment would be released for you if you don’t have any infraction.”

“Whether you have collected your value, whether you have a PAAR, if you have not done your assessment as at now, you can’t capture with that old rate. Especially for the Roll On Roll Off (RORO) or those that are doing PAAR door to door. It’s a Federal government policy. We stakeholders can’t do anything for now, but, it’s the prerogative of the FG to intervene and stabilise the foreign exchange market,” he stated.

LEADERSHIP reports that since the fluctuation of exchange rate, inflation has been on the rise with price of goods hitting the roof top.

“We have enough problems with the exchange rate. Now we are having additional burden of import duty hike because it is like increasing import duty across board maybe by another 15 per cent or more that is what it is,” the Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf stated.

Yusuf, a former director general, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said the increase in exchange rate will further worsen the woes of importers. He stressed that it will also lead to reduction in trade as cost of import will soar.

“The government through her policy is pushing more people into poverty. Nobody should blame Customs, it is the Government that should be blamed. With the rise in exchange rate, people will not import because the way you look at it, how do you get foreign exchange to import?” Amiwero, the national President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agent (NCMDLCA), stated.

He continued, “I don’t know what government is doing about it because it is devastating. The ports are getting empty, people are not importing. People are not working and you cannot access your goods. If you go to the market now, price of goods are is double, petrol and diesel have become problem,” he lamented.

“Many people have lost their jobs, traders are closing shops. The situation is pathetic because we don’t have what it takes to sustain this suffering. Government should intervene before it result into crisis,” he stated.



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