In a bid to improve the export of agricultural produce in Nigeria, Exporters in the Airfreight business are calling on the Federal government to intervene in the excessive charges exporters are compared to pay on their products.
Making this appeal in an interview with newsmen at the weekend in Abuja, the Chairman of Airfreight, Sunday Akintunde asked the government to slash quarantine tariff on farm produce as a way to encourage export activities on the agricultural product in the country.
According to him, “this tariff has pushed a lot of customers out of business due to no return on their investments.”
He attributed the outrageous quarantine tariff under the Ministry of Agriculture as one major factor hampering the exports business calling on the federal government to slash tariff.
Akintunde also noted that the cost of exporting in Nigeria was too high which according to him is discouraging exporters.
He said that exporters prefer to carry their goods to Ghana and export them to other countries using Ghana label, thereby growing Ghana’s economy instead of Nigeria’s economy.
“We have alot of challenges, one of it is the cost of exporting cargo and any business man that wants to do business has an interest which is a return on nvestment.
“Why are we having this issue? We are having this issue because of bureaucracy; we have issues with government agencies, inspection agencies like those in charge of issuing form CCI (Certificate of Capital Importation). The government needs to review their policies, they are a lot of bottlenecks, the world is changing, so much time is been wasted on Manuel documentation” he lamented.
Similarly, the Chairman of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Lanre Akerekan said that quarantine services charges
“N5000 per kilo of any farm produce which was outrageous.
“The major goods that are exported out of Nigeria are foodstuffs, which are being regulated by quarantine service, however, their tariff for one kilo is N5000 and if you have a weight of 200kg, if you multiple that 5000 by 200kg how much will it give you?
“The whole 200kg will not cost you more than 20,000 in the market especially in the case of yam, how much will you pay to now clear it. This alone is one of the major challenges discouraging farmers from going into export business because you will end up paying so much charges without profit,” he stated.
Also complaining, Maaruf Idris, a Shea butter exporter said that the major challenge exporters are facing is the high cost of operation due to logistics, tariff and the delay in getting the necessary documentation in due time.
He said that before an exporter finish with all the certification from the various agencies, some of the goods would already get bad.
“Government needs to look into the issue of the charges and also review those policies causing bottleneck” he noted.
Responding to these issues, The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello said that the council was working with all relevant stakeholders in the sector to address those challenges.
He said the main objective of the council was to fast track clearance of cargoes and ensures adequate storage of cargoes and perishable items, to attract more exporters into the business.
“We have to take into consideration the cost of cargo, some costs are not justified, they are not tied to service and that is what we have
been calling for.
“We are not going to control cost but we will not allow arbitrary charges in the Nigerian port industry in the course of clearing
cargoes,” Bello stated.