Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector have asked the federal government to ensure that the nation’s exit from recession is felt with activities at the seaport.
This appeal was made by stakeholders who spoke with our correspondent against the back drop of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) declaration that the country officially exited recession.
Speaking to AFRIPOST, the National president, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Awimero, bemoaned the decrease in the volume of cargo imported into the country owing to the unfavourable foreign exchange regime of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said that as far as the maritime industry is concerned, nothing has changed.
His words: “The volume of cargo has been decreasing since the exchange rate crashed. These are all political figures. How many cargoes do you have in the ports when the bulk of the cargoes have been diverted to neighbouring countries due to inclement cargo clearance procedure? We don’t want to hear figures; let Nigerians have food on their table, employment should be increased and the economy should be re-jigged.
“As far as the maritime industry is concerned, nothing is working. It is not about increased cargo volume in the last quarter but addressing certain economic issues which are yet to be addressed”.
Awimero called on government to rejig its cabinet and bring experts to drive the economy.
In his opinion, the coordinator of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition, Osita Chukwu, said until importers are able to import through a much lower foreign exchange, nothing has changed.
He said, “As far as I am concerned, there is nothing like the country being out of recession. The port is still dry, activities are still at their lowest ebb.
“Where did they (NBS) get the figure from? Nigerians are suffering; the rate of unemployment is increasing daily; people are finding it difficult to feed. Therefore, all talks of exiting recession exist in the theoretical realm”.
Also, a former president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Eugene Nweke, described the statistics as office figures that is not in tandem with present realities.
“If you relate it with the realities on the ground, there is a paradigm shift; it does not correlate at all. Every country must be involved in economic indices and projections trying to show efforts in revamping the economy”, he told our correspondent.