Nigeria’s central bank raises Customs exchange rate for cargo clearance

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Despite growing concerns by freight forwarders about the imminent inflation in the market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has officially increased the exchange rate for cargo clearance.

The apex bank has raised cargo clearance rate to $404. 97 per dollar from its initial $381 per dollar.

Public Relations Officer of Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr Uche Ejesieme, who confirmed this revealed the increase, saying that it was not the function of Customs to increase the exchange but that of CBN.

“The USD24 difference in the exchange rate has already been effected on the Customs systems by its IT service providers; Web Fontaine,” Ejesieme told Global Village Extra, exclusively.

Also speaking with our correspondent, a freight forwarder, Mr Emeka Okonkwo expressed surprise at the suddeness in the increase without recourse to the stakeholders.

He said that this would further increase the price of goods at the Nigerian market while adding to the already tensed atmosphere in the country.

Speaking, he said “When we went to access a job this morning, we were told that the exchange rate has been increased. Although we have been expecting it, but we didn’t expect that it would be so sudden.

“The implication of this on cargo clearance is that cost of clearance would increase by $24 difference.

“The cargoes that are already enroute Nigeria would also be affected, the jobs that we want to clear this morning were affected.

“When you go back to the importer and request for additional money, they will tell you there is no notification of increase from Customs, so the freight forwarders are the ones that would bear the additional cost” he lamented.

Okonkwo said that freight forwarding professionals need to be guided earlier whenever such increases are coming up, so that they can be able to advise their importers on what is obtainable.

He said “So many of them (importers) are stubborn. Some would agree and some would disagree.

“The customs are working for the Federal Government, so they should have a circular to this effect to inform us earlier so that we can make predictions.

This was the same way they increased it last year without any notification.

“Already, goods are expensive in the market, and this would further add to the inflation in the Nigerian market.

“Coupled with the insecurity in the country, major stakeholders are no longer shipping cargoes into Nigeria. The little that have come in are now being hoarded” he added. (GVE)

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