The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has increased the exchange rate for cargo clearance to N404.97 per dollar.
This is six percent increase when compared to N381 per dollar which was in use before now.
Public Relations Officer (PRO), Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr Uche Ejesieme confirmed the increase.
According to him, it is the duty of the apex bank to increase the rate and not that of Customs.
The N24 difference in the exchange rate has been effected on the Customs systems by its IT service providers; Web Fontaine.
Commenting on the development, the Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, Dr Kayode Farinto, said the increase would lead to geometric calculation in the cost of clearing vehicles and other items from the ports.
Also, an importer, Mr Gboyega Adebari expressed surprise at the suddenness in the increase without recourse to the stakeholders.
He said that this would further increase the price of goods at the market while adding to the already tensed economic atmosphere in the country.
“When we went to assess a job this morning, we were told that the exchange rate has been increased, though we have been expecting it, but we don’t expect that it would be so sudden. The implication of this on cargo clearance is that cost of clearance would increase by N24 difference.
“The cargoes that 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 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,” Adebari said.
He added that importers and clearing agents 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.
Also, a clearing agent, Mr Ibrahim Babatunde urged the CBN and the Nigerian Customs Service to always carry the stakeholders along as he said the increase will lead to high cost of clearing goods and inflation in the country.