Prices Of Goods In Nigeria Will Rise Even More As CBN Increases Customs Exchange Rate

The price of goods in Nigeria will rise even more as CBN increases custom exchange rate to N404 per dollar. The exchange rate for cargo clearance was on Tuesday increased by the Central Bank of Nigeria from N381 per dollar to N404 per dollar. This was confirmed by the Public Relations Officer, Tin Can Island Customs Command, Mr Uche Ejesieme.

He explained that it was not the duty of Customs to increase the exchange rate but that of the CBN. The N24 difference in the exchange rate has been effected on the Customs systems by its IT service providers, Web Fontaine.

Speaking with reporters, 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.

According to his words; “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,” Mr. Gboyega Adebari stated.

He further 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, thereby making the poor to suffer more.

Recall that few weeks ago, it was reported that the prices of bread and biscuits is set to increase by 30 per cent according to the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, who said this is needed in order to cushion the impact of the rising cost of production.

The group who made the decision shortly after its national executive council meeting in Abuja said the price of flour has almost doubled what it is before.

The national president of the association, Mansur Umar, who read the resolution, said the prices of other baking materials have also been increased.

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria said a truck of flour previously sold at N6 million now sells for N9 million.

Their statement reads in part; “The incessant increase of price of flour and other baking materials is responsible for the decision we have taken. In the last six months, one truck of flour that we used to buy at less than N6m is now N9m.

“After considering the impact of the skyrocket prices of baking ingredients/materials, for the survival of our noble business, which is presently bleeding, the association came to the conclusion to adjust our prices by 30 percent.”

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria however called on the federal government of Nigeria to take urgent steps towards reducing the high price of flour. The association also urged the government to reverse the high tariff regime imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and limit regulation of bakers to NAFDAC.

It will be recalled that a year ago, the association had hinted at a 50 per cent increase in the price of bread. At the time, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria had said the surging cost of raw materials and COVID-19 would eventually lead to an increase in price of bread.

Also, in April, the Central Bank of Nigeria hinted at a plan to include sugar and wheat on the list of import items banned from accessing foreign exchange.

Bread is one of the most commonly eaten food in most Nigerian homes and any increase will further shrink consumers’ wallets and most likely cause more hardship for some citizens who are already battling with rising inflation and economic disaster.

Austine Ikeru
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