The National President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, has disagreed with opinions in some quarters that the naira redesign and cashless policy of the Federal Government is adversely affecting the clearing of goods at the ports.
Recall that on October 26, 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CNB) announced the introduction of redesigned 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes into the country’s financial system. But since the new notes entered into circulation and with the full withdrawal of the old notes on February 10, most Nigerians have experienced difficulties accessing cash through ATM cash points.
Many business owners have complained about the negative impact of the naira redesign policy on their businesses and means of livelihood.
But while speaking in an interview with SHIPS & PORTS, Amiwero said, “I don’t think this naira policy affects clearing of goods at the port.”
He said the only area negatively impacted by the new naira policy is the area of transportation and haulage, which is usually cash-based.
The NCMDLCA President, however, admitted that that many Nigerians are facing hardship as a result of the controversial policy due to poor implementation by the CBN.
“What the government is trying to do is to implement a cashless policy for transparency in money transaction to deal with criminals in order to curb corruption in the country. I must say this is affecting everyone because it is not properly planned, the logistics aspect of the whole thing is not properly coordinated and the CBN governor failed in that area.
“I know some agents are complaining about not being able to clear their goods at the port but the truth of the matter is network issue with transacting online has been there long before now even before the naira redesign policy came onboard. I am sure everything will be back to normalcy,” he said.
However, a lawyer and top official of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Barr. Fred Akokhia, disagrees with the NCMDLCA President.
Akokhia is of the opinion that “everything has come to a standstill” at the port as a result of the new naira policy.
“The currency crisis going on in the country has affected a lot of things because everything one does involves money. You have to pay money to do a lot of things like the logistics chain and so on,” he said.
“The government came out with a policy that was not well thought out; they didn’t look at the negative effect. They are only looking at the positive effect, which is beneficial to them alone. As a result of this, there is a complete standstill of operation at the port because there is no money to pay for anything and people cannot do anything money transaction other than to be watching.”
He said apart from freight forwarders and other private entities at the port, the government is also losing money due to the poor implementation of the policy.
“In fact, it has actually disrupted and disorganised the whole value chain in the freight forwarding industry. This crisis has impacted people negatively. The government needs to have a meeting with the stakeholders to discuss the way out of the problem as soon as possible,” Akokhia added.