Clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaport have once again asked the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to peg the exchange rate for import duty purposes alone.
The agents speaking through the national publicity secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto, said this was the only way the nation’s seaport could begin to boom again.
Farinto, who spoke to LEADERSHIP said, “The only way government can get the ports busy with activities is to peg the exchange rate at N280 for import purposes alone.
He however expressed fear that if this was not done, clearing agents operating at the seaport may relocate to border stations to clear from neighbouring countries.
“Many customs licensed agents are diverting attention to Cotonou port, Seme border and Idiroko borders because the seaport are no longer friendly for importers.
“Government should peg exchange rate for import purposes alone, the exchange rate could be N420 but for import purposes it should be pegged at N280
“This should be done between now and January, by then if the dollars continue to fluctuate, then you can shift it up a little, by doing this, you are already preparing the minds of the importers, they would know what is happening, and by January they would be able to project.
“What federal government needs to do is to peg exchange rate for import purposes for the importers, this would ameliorate the suffering in the industry, our problem is not about commercial banks pegging their lending rate, the government needs to come to the grassroots of the maritime industry and speak with the operators,” he said.
Apart from these, he suggested that the government should lift forex ban on 41 import items, as well remove the levy placed on rice imports.
“On the issue of the auto policy, government should abrogate it completely because it is not helping anybody, it only favours less that two per cent of Nigerians who say that they want to assemble vehicles but they are not doing so,” he said