Maritime stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to address the anti-export policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other hiccups affecting clearing at the ports.
The call was made last week, the stakeholders lamented that hundreds of containers of perishable items stranded at the ports had perished owing to the CBN’s policy which mandates all exporters to present the Nigeria Export Proceed (NXP) number through authorized dealer banks before exporting their goods.
They decried the documentation process involving the NXP number is a challenge as exporters are confronted with validation hitches, especially with several agencies involved. Authorized dealer banks, the pre-inspection agency, the NCS and the Central Bank are involved in the process.
Stakeholders have accused the government of deliberately frustrating export, saying the government is only interested in importation where they make their revenue by frustrating businesses.
The National Deputy President, Air Logistics, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Segun Musa, told newsmen that the shippers are recording losses in billions of naira due to these policies.
He stated that despite engaging the CBN on the consequences of the policies for the economy, the bank had remained adamant about the policy.
“The exporters bear the loss and there is no compensation from anywhere. CBN is so rigid with its policies, and this has grave implications because it is gradually killing the economy.
“These are the reasons we have not attained a balance of trade. If you do not achieve a balance of trade, there is no way you get a balance of payment. That is why our currency continues to depreciate,” he said.
Musa further said there is much to be done by the manufacturer associations, chambers of commerce and other relevant stakeholders to collectively engage the government to get it right.
Also, the National Coordinator of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders, Importers and Exporters Coalition (SNIFFIEC), Dr. Odita Chukwu, said the shippers bear the loss of their goods in billions of naira destroyed while the agencies whose inefficiencies caused the damage do not take any responsibility.
He said some of the goods destroyed are worth between N50 million to N30 million per container, depending on the type of cargo.
Chukwu said the shippers have the option of going to court to claim their damage from agencies responsible for their losses.
He lamented that the agencies do not pay compensation, as they use what he described as “flimsy law” to exonerate themselves.
Chukwu, however, charged the Nigerian government to create an intervention fund on cargo losses to help those whose businesses are affected.
The National President, African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Frank Ogunojemite, said Nigeria does not have a compensatory law.
“There must be a proper guideline and if anything happens, it is the owner that will be responsible for it; that is the way it works in this country. The government will not take responsibility for the spoilt goods; these are the problems with our policies,” he said.