High Exchange Rate Cuts Cargo Import into Nigerian Ports by 50%

…Customs To Hike Import Duty Rate to N410

By DAPO OLAWUNI

There are fresh indications that cargo importation into Nigerian ports has been reduced drastically to about 50%, even as importers and customs licensed agents at the port have attributed the reduction to high exchange rate of the Naira to American Dollars.

Investigations by DAILY TREND NEWS also revealed that the Nigeria Customs Service is making plans to increase the current exchange rate for cargo importation from N381 per dollar, up to N410 to a dollar.

Operators have said that this situation has caused most factories to be producing at 50% capacity due to inability to import raw materials.

Our correspondent who paid a visit to the Tin Can Island Port on Thursday noted that most of the terminals were now empty, and very few consignments were seen exiting the port.

Confirming the situation to our correspondent, Chairman of Tin Can Port Chapter, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed lamented that containers exiting the port has reduced drastically from 400 containers per day, to as low as 100 containers per day.

Alhaji Muhammed Mojeed, Executive Chairman of ANLCA at Tin Can Island Port, Lagos

The number one licensed customs agent at the Tin Can Port noted that this reduction can be attributed to the present high exchange rate and lack of access to foreign exchange.

Speaking on the issue of exchange rate, Alhaji Mojeed said “The volume of cargoes coming into Nigeria has reduced, if you go into some terminals now, you will find out that, a terminal that usually drops 400 containers for examination per day, hardly would they drop 100 containers now because of the exchange rate”

“Right now, the rate of cargo importation has dropped, there is no way for importers to even get money to clear their cargoes, the dollar rate is too high, it is N501 in the black market now, this has made it difficult for importers to carryout importation”

“Some factories are now producing at 50% capacity now because of their lack of access to raw materials”

“Customs are still saying that they want to increase their exchange rate bench value from N381 to N410 per US dollar”

“We want to advise customs not to do that now due to the inflation rate which is too high, if the government should implement that now, definite it would affect the importation further” he said

The ANLCA Chairman also said the challenge of transferring back, empty containers abroad has equally led to increase in freight costs.

He noted that the container scarcity which hit most international shipping companies was one of the reasons for the drop in cargo importation into Nigerian port.

“It is only very cargoes that are coming in now, a shipment that you can previously achieve with 4,000dollars has now risen as high as 14,000dollars, how much does the importer stand to gain after making such shipments?

“So, the effect of empty containers not being returned is part of these challenges”

“However, I believe the shipping companies are beginning to work on it now, because most of abandoned empty containers are beginning to leave our country” he added

In the aspect of traffic of trucks at the port, Alhaji Mojeed commended the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over the electronic call-up system which was introduced in February 2021 with soul aim of putting an end to gridlock at the port.

Before introduction of the e-call up system by NPA, he said most of the truck owners do not have parking yards.

“What they usually do, is to use the roads as their parking yards, but with this enforcement by NPA, all of them have ran away because they dont want to pay N250,000 fine.
Right now, it is only if you have your TDO that you can come to the port, if we can continue this way, definitely the area would be sanitized”

“There is a bit of relief on the roads now due to introduction of ETO by NPA, and we believe the project is working”

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