- League draws Tinubu’s attention to collapsed port infrastructure, CVFF disbursement
Following the increase of the exchange rate for the calculation of customs duty payment by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from N783/$ to N952/$, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has identified efficient and speedy port operations as an avenue to minimize the economic plight of importers at the ports.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), Tin Can Island Port Command, Comptroller Dera Nnadi mni, stated this while speaking at the 25th anniversary of the League of Maritime Editors in Lagos on Thursday.
Comptroller Nnadi assured the freight forwarders and entire the trading community that the Tin Can Customs Command will optimize service delivery and facilitate trade so as to reduce the impact of the sudden increase in exchange rate on port users.
Recall that the CBN had increased the exchange rate for the calculation of customs duty from seven hundred and eighty three naira, one hundred and seventy four Kobo (N783. 174) per dollar to nine hundred and fifty one naira, nine hundred and forty one Kobo (N952.941) per dollar on Thursday morning.
Speaking during the question and answer section at the Silver Jubilee celebration of the League of Maritime Editors held in Lagos on Thursday with the theme, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Potential in Marine and Blue Economy”, Comptroller Nnadi said: “We will try and facilitate trade so that whatever little thing you would have paid as demurrage can be used to make up for this and that’s the one I can manage. The other ones, the Nigeria Customs Service cannot manage it because it’s a function of the the federal government’s directive”
Insisting that the officials of the Service were in the same dilemma as the rest of Nigerians over the exchange rate increase, he said: “There’s no supermarket where they sell customs’ bread, all of us buy from the same place. Everything that happens to the economy affects customs officers too. And for your information, I am sure you have contacts or friends who relate with you, I have seen the National Vice President of ANLCA here, I am sure your members may have called you.
“We understand the implications of this to trade bearing in mind that letters of credit have been opened, contracts have been signed, supply requirements have been made, people have negotiated business transactions and decisions on business have been taken based on the existing exchange rate. And we recognized the import of this exchange rate adjustment especially when it is done without a prior notice on trade.”
The Customs boss observed that earlier on Thursday he addressed freight forwarders at Tin Can Island Port on the sudden hike in exchange rate and asked his Secretary to prepare a press statement on the development.
“We recognize what the Nigerian business Community is going through now but there is little we can do about fiscal and monetary policies, our role is to implement them. We didn’t make them up but we align ourselves with government policies. Every government decision taken is for the collective interest of the nation and I expect that we must all abide by it,” Nnadi remarked.
Speaking earlier, the President of League of Maritime Editors, Chief Timothy Okorocha, encouraged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to exercise the required political will to ensure the rehabilitation of collapsed critical port infrastructure as well as speedy disbursement of the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund, CVFF, established since 2003.
He, however, commended the unbundling of the Transportation Ministry with the establishment of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
“As development partners, the League looks forward to the effective participation of the respective agencies in the current administration’s renewed agenda template; and want to see the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) move away from the ritual of endless talk and lamentations into doing the needful, the reconstruction of broken down asset and infrastructure,” he said.
Okorocha expressed delight at the 25th anniversary of the group of veteran journalists and lavishly thanked the industry stakeholders who graced the occasion.
The event was graced by maritime bigwigs including; a former President, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu; Vice President, ANLCA, Prince Segun Oduntan; National President, African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Otunba Frank Ogunojemite; Chief Executive Officer, Kamany Marine Services, Dr. Charles Okorefe, among others.