‘NLC, MAN, NACCIMA, LCCI Should Challenge Disruptive FX Rate’- ANLCA President
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Concerned about the policy flip flop of the federal government, particularly as it affects foreign exchange rate (FX) fixing and its consequent disruptive effects on importation, manufacturing and the economy, National President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Emenike Nwokeoji has challenged the Nigerian labour movement and economic professional bodies to rise up and challenge the government to halt forthwith, the biting and insensitive arbitrary system manipulation.
The ANLCA leader who identified numerous dysfunctional behavior of the FX fixing by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance and other appointee players on trade and commerce, argued that if the fixing disposition of the economic managers continues, it may led to the failure of the national economy, and further worsen the already mass hardship, promote poverty, hunger and give rise to criminality.
He posits that the ongoing FX regime has already started creating serious distortions in the trade and commerce value chain which could further lead to instability and trading distrust amongst buyers and suppliers, exporters and importers; aside the narrowing buying power of ordinary Nigerians due to the galloping push-ups in prices of goods.
“NLC, MAN, NACCIMA, LCCI, and in fact all the economy-related interest groups should join ANLCA to pressure the Federal government to back down on these increases that does not do anyone any good.
“We should tell the Federal Government in an unmistakable terms that they should stop punishing Nigerians for what the elites/cabals/economic saboteurs have deliberately unleashed on Nigerians over time”, he said.
In a release made available to our reporter, Nwokeoji argued that the FX rate fixing is programmed to achieve forced growth rise, describing the behaviour of the present administration and its economic minders as shameful, inept, dishonest and disappointing.
The ANLCA President notes that its members and their principals (importers) like many other Nigerians are suffering going through the most difficult of times, stressing that exchange rate fixing is counterproductive.
The statement with the theme ‘Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Instability And Its Economic And Social Implications’ condemned the current monetary system flip-flop as unbecoming.
“A frustrating report online announced that the exchange rate has moved from N1, 356 per $1, to N1, 431/$1 within 24 hours. Incredible!! That means more economic challenges for the poor masses, who have to, since May 29, 2023 contend with the ever increasing cost of PMS, endure bad roads infrastructure, rising cost of foodstuffs, insecurity, hopelessness amidst so called renewed hope, which has long gone awry.”
Nwokeoji expressed frustration that the government does not care about the citizens anymore it cared about real economic growth.
“We are first and foremost Nigerians, before we are professional Customs Brokers. What really is the offense of Nigerians to deserve these unnecessary hardships deliberately foisted on them by the same people who claim to come to serve us, but instead unleashing devastating, damaging blows on our psyche and physical beings?”
The ANLCA President note that the unavoidable consequences in lax handling of the nation’s monetary system is the prevailing attendant distortions on trade both home and foreign, especially as an import dependent nation.
“The regular FX increases reduces economic growth by creating business uncertainties. For instance, an order is placed for imports at an existing exchange rate, only for it to officially change within two hours of such an order, thereby creating distrust and a loss of confidence between two transacting entities.
“That distortion creates instability in the various markets, businesses and households. A sudden disruptive shift/review of FX rates causes deterioration in competitiveness, and erodes confidence and trust between clients nationally and internationally.”
He continued: “Sharp, unexpected rise in FX rates, especially by government fiat, lowers productivity and profits margin. Inevitably, the instability in Foreign Exchange rates, since Nigeria is still imports dependent, increases domestic prices of goods and services.
“Regular reviews of FX rates cause weaker domestic currency, which makes imports more expensive, while stimulating exports by making them cheaper for overseas customers to buy. This means Nigeria exports earn less, with little or no added value to domestic products.”
He accused the nation’s political leaders, economic planners and managers of deliberately ignoring the fundamentals that drives trade and manufacturing on the auspices of achieving a forced macroeconomics developments.
“A weak or strong currency can contribute to a nation’s trade deficit or trade surplus over time. Three main impacts of economic instability include business cycle differentials, inflation and unemployment, which ultimately leads to criminality.
“The inconsistencies in FX rates also causes financial losses in Banks. With the constantly raising of foreign exchange which directly impacts costs of goods and services in the markets, distribution centres, Nigerians of all shades of life are affected. This is because we all patronize the markets where the goods and services are accessed by Nigerians.
“So, the exchange rates’ regular upward reviews by the FGN/CBN, affects all of us equally as Nigerians, because we all go to the same market where all the imported goods and services affected by the instability of the exchange rate regime, end up.”
The ANLCA leader charged the nation’s economic mangers to focus on genuine productive policy formulation; and be sensitive to citizens welbeing.
“But, quite honestly, those charged with the economic management of our God-given resources, ought to be thinking outside the box for solutions that does not frustrate the lives of the people, at least, not for this long. Our economy’s managers should come up fast with solutions to get us out of the present economic and social quagmire, before the bubble bursts.
“These recent increases in the exchange rate are affecting all aspects of our lives through high inflation. The government really needs to do something very fast, in order to lessen the burden of families and businesses. It’s daily becoming unbearable for the ordinary Nigerian to survive.”
It will be recalled that the CBN since last have repeatedly adjusted the exchange rate for importation of cargoes on the Nigeria Customs Service portal, which climaxed on Saturday morning with the rate adjusted from N1,356.883 per dollar to a 1,413.62 per dollar.