Foreigners, leveraging on their overseas connections, may have become a significant threat to the job security of Nigerians in the freight forwarding business,
President of Shippers’ Association Lagos State, SALS, Rev. Jonathan Nicol, who indicated this at the weekend, noted that as much as 10,000 Nigerian jobs were already at risk.
The SALS boss, who also called for urgent intervention, pleaded for immediate ‘investigation’ and introduction of appropriate sanctions, because the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, CRFFN, a government platform for the protection of practitioners, had been outwitted.
Lamenting that foreigners were massively taking over the freight forwarding business from Nigerians, Nicole noted that almost all the processes of cargo clearance at the ports were already within their portfolios, leaving Nigerian freight forwarders idle.
“Foreigners prepare all the Form M and place order with suppliers of the firm. Ship it into the country, clear the cargo and deliver to consignees. Freight Forwarders are losing their jobs to foreigners, reports reaching the Shippers’ Association, Lagos State, is that some private foreign companies are bent on taking over all the blue chip companies and manufacturing industries in Nigeria through out-sourcing.
“The implications are that the existence of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria will be threatened. I believe that freight forwarding in Nigeria should be an exclusive business to Nigerians as it is done in The Republic of Benin.
“If nothing is done urgently, over 10,000 Nigerians will lose their jobs, The federal government should please protect our people from foreign concerns complicating the fragile economic situation in Nigeria,’’ he indicated further, emphasising that if nothing is done urgently to correct the trend, not less than 10,000 Nigerians would soon be out of job.
Nicol expressed concern that the essence of setting up CRFFN has not been achieved. The aim of CRFFN among other things is to protect indigenous freight forwarders.
Meanwhile, the stoppage of foreign exchange sale to Bureau-De-Change operators has failed to prevent massive decline of the nation’s foreign reserves, which dropped by $108 million three days after the move by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
The rate at which the reserves fell in three days after the ban was more than what was recorded between December 31, 2015 and January 11, 2016, data from the CBN showed.
Latest figures showed that the reserves dropped by $396 million in two weeks from $29.07 billion on December 31, 2015 to $28.674 billion on January 14. The reserves stood at $28.782 billion on January 11 when the central bank announced the stoppage of dollar sale to BDCs.
The CBN said with the continued depletion of foreign reserves, providing forex to BDCs was no longer sustainable.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said between July 2014 and January this year, the country’s external reserves had suffered a great pressure from speculative attacks, round-tripping and front-loading activities by actors in the foreign exchange market.
These, he noted, had led to a decline in the reserves from $37.3 billion in June 2014 to $28 billion currently.
There have been several calls for flexibility in the foreign exchange policies of the CBN as businesses continue to take a toll from its restrictive policies.
The external reserves declined by 15.79 percent year-on-year to about $29.070 billion on December 31, 2015, compared to $34.52 billion a year ago, according to CBN data.
The Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, had in a meeting with Buhari earlier this month, stressed the need for flexibility with monetary policies in order not to deplete the reserves.
“We believe that with very clear primary ambition to support the poorer people of Nigeria, there could be added flexibility in the monetary policy, particularly if as we think the price of oil is likely to be low for longer (period).
“The occurrences should not deplete the reserves of the country, simply because of being seemingly rigid. I am not suggesting that rigidity be totally removed, but some form of flexibility would help.”
Lagarde also said, “A nation’s foreign reserves are usually an indication of the health of its international trade, with import-dependent countries often disadvantaged in their current account balance as a result of forex expenditure outstripping income.”

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