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High forex, insecurity aid collapse of cargo imports to 50%

The inability of the Federal Government to heed to the clamour for subsidised and special exchange rate for industries and manufacturing concerns has continued to take toll on the capacity of the real sector to sustain cargo imports.

As a nation that relies heavily on importation, the agitation was to enable importers especially manufacturing companies to easily have access to forex in order to bring in raw materials and other goods through the nation’s seaports.

Rather and very unfortunately, government turned deaf ears to these demands, instead sponsoring pilgrims with special exchange rate, while importers went through black market to get forex. Today, cargo importation into Nigerian ports has been reduced drastically to about 50 per cent, even as importers and Customs-licensed agents attributed the reduction to high exchange rate.

As the high exchange rate hit importers very hard, investigations also revealed that the Nigeria Customs Service is planning to increase the current exchange rate for cargo importation from N381 per dollar to N410 to a dollar. The situation has forced most factories to be producing at a very low capacity due to inability to import raw materials, according to operators. Presently, port users said at Tin Can Island Port most of the terminals are becoming empty, and very few consignments are exiting the port.