By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The high level of hardship in the country and the difficulties encountered by Manufacture ring companies in importation and taking delivery of their raw materials at the Lagos port of Apapa, Tincan Island and other ports and terminals across the country which have gotten to a feverish point due to the alleged government economic policies may have encouraged the Leadership of the Leadership of the Nigerian Economic Support Group, NESG, to intervene to save the situation from degenerating.
OnThursday, August, 31, 22023, the Board and Management of the NESG, which could no longer sit by and watch the Nigeria economy collapse under their very nose and the present Administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former Lagos state governor had visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to lodge their complaints and the need the need for the government to do something urgent to ameliorate the situation.
The Nigerian President may have sent a signal to Nigerians and importers who were said to have been abusing the country’s foreign exchange policy over the years that the party is over with the unification of the official and black- market rates and removal of fuel subsidy. Nigerians had cried out resolve some knoty economic issues.
Olaniyi Yusuf, the NESG, Chairman, was aid to have to have told the Nigerian President who was not ready to bend the rules that the Council, welcomed all the economic reforms that had been initiated by the administration so far, particular, the subsidy removal, foreign exchange harmonization, food security and palliatives to sub-national governments but still needed reforms on the policies to have a human face.
It was not surprising why the Leadership of the NESG, has pledged to work closely with Wale Edu, minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy and other ministerial appointees including Special Advisers and the relevant agencies to achieve the eight point agenda of the administration aimed at easing the pain of doing business in the country.
The NESG officials had expected the President to step down some of the harsh economic policies considered killing but at the ports but he was said to have made clear to them that there is no going back on the implementation of the policies, insisting that the administration will continue ‘’to sustain and implement the economic reforms’’ which he believes will still ‘’solve the mantara of promoting ease of of doing business, the high cost of doing business, inefficient processes and procedures and the titany of extortions at the ports. The extortions, take holders had said had made Nigerian ports uncompetitive compared to the Benin Republic port of Benin, Cotonou and other port in the West African subregion.
Freight Forwarders confirmed that it costs an average of N140,000.00 to N155,000.00 to take delivery of a ‘’20ft’’ Container and an average of N215,000.00 and N250,000.00, for a ‘’40ft’’ Container at the port. They noted that the return of the Containers, both the ‘’20ft’’ and ‘’40ft to the holding bays ’’, also attracts some fees. The importer, according to an insider pays between N50,00.00 and N65,000.00 for a ‘’20ft’’ Container while the empty ‘’40ft’’ Container attracts between N80,000.00 and N100,000.00.
It was gathered that to transfer a Containerised cargo to the importer’s bonded warehouse from a Lagos port to conduct the necessary transactions and clearing process, costs between N33,000.00 N400,000.00, depending on the location. . Note that these payments are not part of the duty payment for the cargo or raw materials by the importer.
Prior to the NESG officials to the President, the Council had published a Macroeconomic outlook of the country last January, stressing that 2022, fiscal year, brought with it a mixed blessing to the country. . The Council had said that that the country’s economic expansion has not translated into improving socioeconomic conditions, such as poverty and inequality which had remained worse till date.
The Council report was said to have been divided into three parts to address the country’s pertinent economic problems. Part A, of the report was said to have offered Comprehensive examination of the nation’s economy in 2022 for which they had expected the then Presidents Muhammadu Buhari to address headlong and for Tinubu, his successor to continue from where had stopped.
The Council had looked at the six areas of the economy that had caused the weak performance in the 2022, fiscal year, which includes a relapse in economic growth, a combination of cost-push and demand -pull inflationary pressure, a decline fiscal performance, tight monetary policy, amplified external vulnerability, and a decline investor confidence but that was how far it could go.
The part B, of the Council Macro -economic outlook report for 2022, was said to have looked at four strategic thrusts and eight enablers, measurable targets, immediate and medium term recipes to build a solid foundation and attain core indicators of share prosperity. Part C of the NESG report was said to have looked at the macroeconomic projection for Nigeria in this 2023, fiscal year and the risks that core impact adversely on these projections along with the implementable policy framework provided in the earlier published the part B report.
It has made it clear that if the present Tinubu’s administration is determined to solve the country’s litany of economy challenges it must address all the issues that was highlighted in the Council 2023, macroeconomic outlook report.
Tinubu, who could not hide his feelings was said to have made it clear to the NESG, officials, who had paid him a courtesy visit that ‘’the bold and coordinated economic reforms being implemented by the administration which are anchored on ‘’strong adherence to accountability and transparency’’ will be sustained. The Nigerian President may have given a message to the NESG officials to send to the Manufacturers, ‘’I will not look back’’ in the implementation of the reforms, meaning that it will not look at the Council past report on the country’s 2023, macroeconomic outlook but to look forward.
The Lagos state born Nigerian President who lamented that that the NESG official have not taken out time to find out why the country have not used the consumer credit to build the purchasing power of Nigerians and the capacity of the manufacturing companies. He was emphatic that that that the country have abundance of knowledge and untapped mineral resources and agricultural sector with good soil and not have a Commodity exchange
The Nigerian President, had said that the bitter pills which will facilitate the ease of doing business at the nation’s seaports and Land Border areas and Collaboration ‘’must be administered to an ailing nation and economy to build a better future for the country’
The Council had made it clear that the framework will guide policymakers in addressing the challenges faced b the Nigerian economy and moving towards a path of shared prosperity.
Given the high cost of doing business at the nation’s seaports as alleged by stakeholders, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, had met with the Leadership of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, who had sought for ‘’a better approach towards regulating trade and industries in the country’’.
Kelvin Oye, the president of NACCIMA, was said to have requested the Customs Comptroller General, whom many believe has the ear of the President, to address the issues surrounding’’ certificate of origin of imported cargoes. The Customs boss may have gotten the message right that he was said to have given the NACCIMA officials the assurance that’’ the service will collaborate with the Association to succeed in facilitating trade at the seaports’’.