…Freight Forwarders Mull Port Protest Akin to ‘ENDSARS’
By DAPO OLAWUNI
In less than twenty four hours after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) adjusted the exchange rate for importation of cargoes on the Nigeria Customs Service portal, another iincrease has been effected.
The exchange rate was officially increased again Saturday morning from N1,356.883 per dollar to a whooping 1,413.62 per dollar on the custom portal.
DAILY TREND had reported on Friday that the customs exchange increased from N952 per 1$ as at December 2023 to N1,356 per dollar.
The development has led to uproar among stakeholders in the maritime sector, especially importers, as well as clearing and forwarding agents.
The agents according to grapevine sources are contemplating a total shutdown of the port which according to them would be bigger than the ENDSARS Protest witnessed in 2021.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) is reported to be planning an engagement with the Central Bank of Nigeria on the need to reduce the exchange rate.
In a statement on Friday, a frontline freight forwarder, Chidi Anthony Opara had urged the leadership of the freight forwarding sector to engage with the CBN.
Opera said “In the light of the above, the subsector leaders should jettison their love for empty high sounding names and unnecessary publicity hugging mentality and focus on the following:
(1) they should broaden their engagement policy to include other relevant government agencies, like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
(2) they should be mindful of the fact that the Customs service is a policy implementing, not a policy formulating agency.
(3) they should as a matter of urgency, approach the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), from where the policy under reference emanated with the aim of securing a downward review or even a return to status quo.
(4)they should synergize with the organized trading sector to forge a united front.
(5) before approaching the CBN, they should be armed with verifiable data on the consequences of the referenced policy on the economy of the country, especially at the micro level.