President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Eugene Nweke has said that Nigeria’s over dependence on importation is the reason why stakeholders in the real sector are still grappling and finding it hard to come to terms with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forex restriction policy. Nweke who said this weekend on the sidelines of a one-day professional online services/operation tracking and training workshop put together by the Concerned Accredited Freight Forwarders Association (CAFFA) and Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) in collaboration with a Ghanian firm, Vestrackers said if the country had focused more on export, its economy would not have been badly hit by the policy.
“Why we are grappling with this policy on forex is because for over 45 years going, our economy has been dependent on importation. If we are actually sourcing to export, it would not have been the same ab initio,” he said.
He noted that while the policy may be well intended, the approach was not well thought out as according to him, there was no due consultation with major stakeholders before its implementation.
Nweke who is also the coordinator of CAFFA added that while there is need for government to make adjustment in its import trading activities if it must empower local manufacturers, special consideration should be given to certain imports, which Nigeria does not have the capacity to produce substantially.
“The aspect we are saying government should have a rethink is that they should not just list certain items of major concern where we don’t have the comparative advantage and you say you are subjecting it to certain unnecessary policy.
“WTO trade liberalization encourages every signatory country to use what we call tariff bar to create a measure against the influx of certain products into the country.
“When you place ban, you are already creating room for smuggling because the borders are not properly policed and those things you ban are products that the drug baron who are in the system will like to bring in because to them it will yield quicker money than the normal trade,” he said.
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