Freight forwarders bemoan impact of CBN’s FOREX restriction on imported items

 Chieftains of various freight forwarding associations on Friday bemoaned the impact of the CBN’s policy restricting Foreign Exchange (FOREX) transactions on 41 imported items.

The freight forwarders in separate interviews in Lagos, said the situation had resulted to low business activities at the ports.
Dr Frank Ukor, president, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria, said business had been at a low ebb as importers and exporters continued to face challenges in getting FOREX for their business transactions.
``The issue of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the new FOREX policy, which made it difficult for business owners to get foreign exchange, has resulted into many customs agents closing shops.
``The Federal Government should relax the policy to enable manufacturers bring in materials needed for production, especially as the year draws to a close.
``This condition will make it difficult for the Nigeria Customs Service to realise its revenue target,’’ Ukor said.
Also, the president, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Alhaji Olayiwola Shittu, said several factors, including the FOREX policy, had affected the freight forwarding business.
The ANLCA president said members of his association now spend their days at the association's secretariat, rather than going aimlessly round the ports.
He said the economy had been going through a downturn in activities and expressed the hope that it would change to enable people return to work.
Contributing, Mr Lucky Amiwero, the president, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) said 80 per cent of their businesses had been affected by the FOREX policy.
He said government must rejig the economy fast because many people had become unemployed.
Amiwero said the business environment had become very hostile, forcing many people to relocate to ports in neighbouring countries.
A customs agent at the Lilypond Terminal, Lagos, Mr Chuks Njemanze, said business had gone 'really bad' as freight forwarders hardly get jobs to handle.
He said the terminal operators should do well to ensure that containers be stemmed to the off-dock terminals, rather than containers overflowing in Apapa.