On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the exchange rate for cargo clearance from N381 to N404.97 per dollar.
Mr Uche Ejesieme, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Tin Can Island Customs Command, acknowledged the rise.
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He pointed out that it was the CBN’s responsibility, not Customs’, to raise the exchange rate.
The N24 difference in the currency rate has been reflected on the Customs systems by Web Fontaine, one of the company’s IT service suppliers.
Dr Kayode Farinto, Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents confirmed that the rise would result in a geometric calculation of the cost of clearing vehicles and other products from ports.
Mr Gboyega Adebari, an importer, also voiced amazement at the unexpected hike without consulting stakeholders.
He stated that this would raise the price of items on the market while adding to the country’s already stressful economic environment.
“When we went to interview for a job this morning, we were told that the exchange rate had been raised. We had expected it, but we didn’t anticipate it to be so abrupt.
The impact for cargo clearance is that the cost of clearance will rise by N24.
“The cargoes that are already en route to Nigeria would also be affected, as would the jobs that we want to clear this morning.”
“When you go back to the importer and ask for money, they will tell you that there has been no notification of an increase from customs, thus the freight forwarders will absorb the higher cost,” Adebari explained.
He noted that importers and clearing agents should be notified as soon as such increases are announced so that they can advise their importers on what is available.
In addition, a clearing agent, Mr Ibrahim Babatunde, encouraged the CBN and the Nigerian Customs Service to always keep stakeholders in mind, claiming that the hike would result in high clearing costs and inflation in the country.
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