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  • Business - Companies
  • Updated: March 15, 2023

Naira Scarcity: Seaport Operators Lament As Cash Crunch Paralyses Activities

Seaport operators have disclosed that economic activities at various seaports in the country have been affected by the naira re-design policy of the federal government introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to Lucky Amiwero, the President of the National Council of Managing Director of Licenced Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), who spoke with Leadership, aside from hampering port operations, the policy is also crippling activities of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in the country.

Amiwero disclosed that clearing agents couldn’t leave their various homes to come to the port to transact business because of the cash crunch.

He said the policy has also increased the poverty rate among the citizens.

“It is affecting port activities. Though we do online transactions with banks while processing PAAR and others, we still have to pay transporters while moving to the seaport from our various homes or offices as well as other auxiliary services that would be paid for to allow seamless evacuation of cargoes.

“So, the ports, for now, are being challenged and by now the government should have reversed those policies and printed enough notes because it’s affecting everyone.

“People are dying and people who are sick cannot get drugs, people cannot leave their homes because they don’t have transport.

"The policy is also affecting everybody and it’s crippling the SME.

“The SMEs cannot sustain themselves anymore, especially those selling small daily foods, they find it difficult to replace their wares.

"It is becoming painful and people are suffering over it.

“The policy has affected evacuation largely because even if we do some percentage of banking transactions online, there is a larger percentage that still needed to be done with cash which is not available."

Also speaking, the President Association of Maritime Truck Owners (AMATO), Chief Remi Ogungbemi, disclosed that truck owners have been finding it difficult to evacuate cargo from the seaports to the owners’ warehouses.

He said it has been difficult for truck drivers to adapt to the new system of online transactions making it very herculean to move cargo out of the seaport.

“It’s affecting every Nigerian. The policy is alien to us, however, we are seeing how to adjust ourselves to the new system.

"This policy is affecting everyone seriously because not everyone has got used to the system because we need to buy fuel and due to the size of our fuel we can’t go to filling stations but have to buy inside Jerry can and sometimes the seller uses to reject payment by transfer, hence, we need to look for cash because we need to fuel our vehicles.”

“Also, there are activities of street urchins, and do we tell area boys we don’t have cash?

“They will beat the hell out of the driver.

“We have sent so many appeals to the government not to see how they can remove 'Agberos' from the road because they are causing havoc on our members.

“The cashless business is affecting the trucking business, but I commend the policy because I believe it will help to reduce the rate of crime.

“If you don’t go with cash how will pickpockets snatch or pick your pockets that they are looking for money?

“Also, when they know no offices of business collect cash, how will they burgle it?

“However, the cashless policy is affecting our business because the system is still alien to us but gradually, we will get used to it but as of now, it’s affecting us seriously.

Also, a truck owner, Yusuf Liadi, said the cash crunch has affected the movement of cargo from Lagos ports to warehouses outside Lagos.

According to him, most truck drivers are not educated enough for online transactions and since cash is absent, it makes it difficult for them to accept trips outside Lagos.

“Truck drivers are unable to accept cargo delivery outside Lagos because of the cash crunch.

“How do we mobilise our drivers to buy fuel?

“How do we mobilise to pay for government tickets on the main roads and most of these drivers are not sophisticated enough to operate mobile banking, so they deal mostly with cash.”

“Within Lagos, we can still make transfers to fuel suppliers because we have known each other for long, but what do we do to those who are in other states that we don’t know?” Liadi queried.

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Felicia Abisola  Olamiji
Felicia Abisola Olamiji

Β  A graduate of English Language from Olabisi Onabanjo University, passionate about learning new...

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