There was palpable anxiety at the Lagos Ports on Monday as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced N326 as new exchange rate for customs transactions at the ports.
The exchange rate which hitherto was pegged at N306 per dollar has now been increased to N326 per dollar.
Findings by DAILY TREND today showed that the Nigeria Customs Service has already commenced implementation of the new exchange rate with immediate effect. Customs sources confirmed that the valuation department of customs at all command has equally adjusted the exchange rate on their systems.
Speaking with our correspondent, Public Relations Officer of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) at Tin Can Island Port, Mr. Emmanuel Onyeme also confirmed that all transactions and cargoes that were cleared at the port today (Monday) were already paying N326 per dollar.
Onyeme lamented that the new exchange rate would definitely add to the cost of clearing cargoes from Nigerian ports and the prices of goods in the market.
He argued that the policy should not have commenced with immediate effect because several agents have already accepted jobs from their importers using calculations based on the old rate of N306 per dollar.
He also lamented the Customs did not carry the clearing agents and other stakeholders along in implementation of its policies.
Speaking, Onyeme said “The new rate took place at the ports today.
It is already affecting our interaction with customs because if the former exchange rate is 306 and they are placing an increment of N20, with this, some extra money would have been added to it”
“Before now, a vehicle that is paying a duty of N300,000, definitely with the current increment of the exchange rate by N20, the same Vehicle will pay more than N300,000”
“So, the new rate will affect the cost of clearing, especially for those who have collected jobs at the rate of N306, now that they are paying N326, they would have to go back to the importer to collect extra money”
“And if the importer is selling his car for N1 million, with this additional cost, he is going to add whatever that is the extra cost to it”
“The Customs have already changed the rate on the system, every job that was captured today had to pay the new rate”
Onyeme lamented that the inability of the freight forwarding associations in the maritime sector to speak with one voice has further emboldened the Nigeria Customs Service to treat stakeholders with levity.
According to him, “The Customs does not carry us along in their policy formation because the associations are not speaking with one voice, there is a crack on the wall”
“These are the things that the government was capitalizing on, if the associations were speaking with one voice, Customs would have called the attention of everybody, both parties would seat down to look at the advantage and disadvantages and the effect on the consumers”