The President of the Shippers’ Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said on Monday that the devaluation of the Naira would increase the cost of importation and consequently reduce imports.

Nicol, who made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, said the manufacturing industries would be affected in terms of importation of raw materials.

NAN reports that on Tuesday, the Naira was devalued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by N13 from N155 to N168 to one dollar in order to strengthen the economy.

According to Nicol, there will be a marginal reduction in imports though the nation is working toward becoming less import-dependent.

“Although it may not be too bad, we envisage a reduction in imports between three to five per cent because of the current exchange rate regime.

“Some raw materials and other items are now placed under higher tariffs and this will increase costs. From our own point of view, raw materials should be duty free due to the devaluation of the naira.

“Shipping and terminal charges on raw materials should be given some concessions for them to thrive,’’ he told NAN.

“Manufacturers are complaining about CBN removing certain items as raw materials.

“Raw materials attract five per cent duty and importers will have to pay more duty on the items removed and that will definitely affect their cash flow.’’

Nicol said that finished goods would be more expensive to purchase because of the high cost of production.

According to him, the increase in oil pricing is already a monster that should be tackled and we expect the Federal Government at this time to redesign its economic programmes.

The shipper urged the government to ensure that some refineries worked optimally for local production.

Nicol said that this would solve the problem of oil pricing, adding that the question of importation of diesel and petrol would cease.

“Cottage refineries should be built within the Delta region and all the youth involved in refining crude oil in their own way should be integrated and trained to manage the cottage refineries,’’ he said.

As a way out, he suggested that government should create job opportunities and that job placement should not be on the basis of quota system anymore because it had not helped the nation.

He lauded the ban on luxury items, saying that shippers paid 100 per cent duty on the factory price of such items.

Nicol said it was not new that government came out to ban luxury items to curtail the excesses of the elites. (NAN)

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