By Udeme Clement
The Federal Government has been called upon to review the ban on the 41 items excluded from the import list, “as the policy has negative implications for commercial activities at the nation’s ports.”
The spokesman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Mr. Bolaji Akinola, said the policy had reduced capacity utilisation in the nation’s ports to 38 percent while productive activities had dropped by 62 percent, leading to massive job losses.
Akinola explained that the foreign exchange policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) restricting forex for such items was killing the ports and driving potential investors away. He said, “Businesses in the ports are closing shop daily due to this policy. Government should act fast in reviewing and lifting this ban, in order to revive the port, which ought to be a major source of revenue generation for Nigeria. Nothing is happening in the port s in terms of economic activities, that is why we are experiencing massive job losses, which is not good for our economy, especially at a time where the nation is experiencing recession. The forex restriction is not helping our economy, as many people prefer going to the ports in Benin Republic and other neighbouring countries, and smuggling the items, which ought to land directly in our ports in Nigeria, to the detriment of our economy.”
So, you realise that Nigeria is losing, while such neighbouring ports are gaining and generating revenue.”