April 16, 2024

Maritime Today Online

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ANLCA threatens to shut down seaports over exchange rate fluctuations, gives ultimatum

….recommends Customs duty rates be fixed for 6 months minimum

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA) has issued a stern ultimatum, threatening to shutdown the nation’s ports if the government fails to address the persistent fluctuations in the foreign exchange rate used in calculating customs duty on imported goods within the next 30 days.

Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), ANLCA, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha, who conveyed the association’s discontent and concern over the escalating exchange rates at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday warned that it will partner with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria ( MWUN) and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to enforce and ensure the strike action is successful.

Mustapha said with the recent surge in the exchange rate, reaching about N1800 per dollar, the association cannot continue to seat down aloof and keep watching the situation while it’s members are suffering and businesses are shutting down.

He said, “As at Tuesday, the exchange rate from the system has jumped to about N1800 per dollar. That is the effect of the inflation we are having in the country today.

“This has affected most of our practitioners today. Volume of trade and cargo clearance has reduced drastically because people can no longer afford to import at that rate again. If we keep quiet, most of us we go out of business.

“We cannot afford to have our exchange rate especially when it has to do with Customs duty on a floating level.

“We are appealing to government to look into this issue but if nothing is done, at our own level, we will collaborate with the maritime workers Union and the NLC to shut down the ports. Then the government will know they have to come in.

“This is the reason why we met with the Comptroller General of Customs and he has told us the effort he has made at the level of the customs management and interactions with the CBN and the minister of Finance and Tade. We believe at the end of the day, all this will be carried to the President where the bulk stops, ” he said.

ANLCA threatens to shutdown seaports over exchange rate fluctuations, gives ultimatum

Speaking earlier, President of ANLCA, Emenike Nwokeoji lamented the continuous changes in the official trade transactional rates sometimes up to twice or thrice in a day, making it impossible for clearing agents to provide credible quotes for jobs.

“The issue of foreign exchange rates in relation to the naira has become somewhat intractable that we as the mouthpiece of the Customs brokers/freight forwarders in Nigeria can no longer afford to be silent.

“It is a well-known fact that Nigeria’s trade has a predominant foreign exchange content and Nigeria being an import-dependent country, the effect of any exchange rate distortions can be devastating. Our major concern is about the exchange rates being used in computing import duty and other charges payable on imports.

“Apart from the elementary economics that teaches us that no country can afford to allow her currency to be subjected to the law of supply and demand without hurting her economy, the more pressing issue is that the constant and upward changes in the exchange rate for Customs trade purposes are putting every thing in a state of confusion, “he said.

While calling on the federal government to direct the CBN to urgently address the issue, Emenike suggested stabilizing the exchange rate for calculating customs duty by fixing it over a minimum period of six months.

” The time frame being suggested is advised by the usual time it takes to start and conclude an import transaction putting into consideration all the my raids of impediments on the path of international trade nowadays, “he said.

Also lending his voice to the issue, a Chieftain of ANLCA, Ernest Elochukwu, highlighted the broader economic dangers, stating that, ” The major thing now is how the national economy can be rescued because it is in grave danger right now.

“To some people, we might look at it as exchange rate problem but it has gone beyond that because it has spiraled into not just inflation but confusion. This is how countries that have failed started.”

Photo caption:

L-R: Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA) Prince Segun Oduntan; Chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT), ANLCA, Alhaji Taiwo Mustapha; and President, ANLCA, Sir Emenike Nwokeoji during a press briefing at ANLCA’s national secretariat in Lagos on Thursday. 




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