July 14, 2024

Stakeholders in the maritime industry have said the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) plan to stop the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to commercial banks will drive importers to source funds from the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Togo.

They said the plan would lead to a massive movement of funds outside the country, as well as affect the economy negatively.

The President of the Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL), Jonathan Nicol, stated that the planned stoppage of forex to commercial banks has led to panic buying of foreign exchange and could cripple the economy.

According to him, the policy will lead to devaluation of the country’s currency and imbalance in the economy, which he said, would greatly affect imports and exports.

“With the new plan, it means we will have to source our funds outside the bank, which will lead to panic buying, because I don’t think the bank will have money now to service imports, so, it means we have to buy the foreign exchange at our neighbouring country, like the Republic of Benin, Ghana or Togo. And that will lead to a whole lot of movement of funds outside Nigeria.

“If there is no import, it will affect export because other countries will also stop buying from you. There must be a trade balance, otherwise, your exports will be rejected,” he said.

Similarly, an importer and member of the Nigeria Importer Exporter Coalition group, Olujide Akingbile, said the plan is inimical to the growth of the economy.

“It is also important to state that some payments to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by shipping companies are denominated in foreign currencies.

“It means those bringing PMS and others will have to source for dollars. If you go to the banks now, you will not get FX,” he said.

On his part, former chairman of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can chapter, Segun Oduntan, commended the CBN’s policy, which he said, would separate genuine from fake importers.

“Genuine importers don’t have a problem with FX. What CBN is trying to do is block some loopholes,” he said.


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