President, Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL), Rev. Jonathan Nicol has said that Nigerian shippers are going bankrupt, as they are unable to repay the loans collected from the commercial banks.
Nicol, who disclosed this in Lagos while addressing newsmen, lamented that shippers are presently going tough time, saying there is need for government to check the constant review of import rates, adding that trade imbalance and high cost of doing business are taking toll on importation into the country.
“We are just feeling not protected, no palliatives, no incentives, demurrage are in contention, when there are public holidays we pay, likewise on Sundays when there are no jobs, we pay. The bills are just too much. Most shippers are bankrupt due to loans borrowed from banks, the environment is not friendly for shippers at all,” Nicol said.
However, he urged the economic regulator to do the needful as shippers feel neglected with the many bills they pay for importation, noting that importation was already shrinking due to the bills.
According to him, shipping lines presently did not have containers to import to west coast. He stressed that government was unduly putting all its eggs in one basket: the export basket, due to its determination to make the country less import-dependent.
He also lamented payment being made in hard currency to shipping lines in Nigeria, adding that these shipping companies did not allow shippers to make freight charges in Naira in their countries.
He said there is need for government to change the import policy to encourage shippers, saying that if there is no clear-cut adjustment policy; it will be free for all with people behaving, as they want.
“As regards trade balance, if we are bringing imports for one country, for instance, Germany, they will also want to export their own goods themselves so that there will be balance of trade.”
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