The Vice President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Mr. Kayode Farinto has urged the Federal Government to extend its provision of stimulus packages under the implementation of the "Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan", to the Nigerian maritime sector.
The Federal Government, under the Economic Sustainability Committee chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recently approved the immediate implementation of N2.3 trillion Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) to support the economy in the face of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with journalists last week in Apapa, Farinto who is also the chairman of Education and Training Committee of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), stated that with the recent drop in crude oil prices, the maritime sector is the next sector that can generate revenue and should be the focus of the Federal Government.
Farinto said that, freight forwarders, through the CRFFN could be given at least N50billion to clear some of the abandoned cargoes at the port, while stating that Nigerian indigenous ship owners should be given part of the money to rescue their dying businesses
He lamented that due to COVID-19, a lot of importers have been redundant and they could not get money to do business.
He informed that COVID-19 has cut down Nigeria level of importation to about 45% and that most of the importation is now mainly for essential cargoes, because some of the companies in China are no longer operating.
According to him, "if there is no stimulus package, it is believed that the economy of Nigeria would drop further, the stimulus would be a morale booster, so that we don't go into recession"
"I want to appeal to the Federation Government in view of the fact that the oil is now dropping, the only place Federal Government can make money is from the maritime sector, therefore, the so called stimulus package should be extended to the maritime industry"
"I am of the opinion that the issue of indigenous ship owners should be looked at, proceeds from the CVFF has not been disbursed, and the indigenous ship owners are going into extinction
"So also, freight forwarders can get from this economic stimulus package, because COVID-19 has affected a lot of things negatively, the level of our importation has dropped by 45%, most of the importation now is mainly on essential cargoes. So things would happen in the next few months, and it would negatively affect our economy"
"We have some importers who have been redundant in the last three months, they cannot import anything, they would like to diversify but they need to be motivated"
"Government can decide to give N50billion to be accessed by anyone with genuine business at 10% interest, just like they are doing at Bank of Industry, this would encourage people.
Looking at indigenous ship owners, 99% of vessels on our waters are foreign vessels, this what makes us to lose billions of Naira"
"If the government decides to look at the maritime sector, the CRFFN can be given the money, so that people who have cargoes to clear, the importers that are financially handicapped, can approach CRFFN and they would be given such loans without interest"
"A lot of people have consignments at the port, but they abandoned it because they don’t have money to clear it, they should catch from these largesse"
"If the CRFFN should be given N50billion, we can look at it, set a committee to investigate, the importer is given the money at no interest, sell his goods" he stated.