Suspend Ban On Vehicle Imports Through Land Borders, Reps Tell FG

The House of Representatives, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to suspend the ban on importation of vehicles through land borders in Nigeria.

Consequently, the lawmakers, at plenary, mandated the Committees on Governmental Affairs and Customs and Excise to ensure implementation and report back to the House within six weeks for further legislative input.

This development was based on a motion, entitled ‘’Need to suspend The Ban On Importation of Vehicles Through Land Borders, promoted by Abdulahi Salame, APC, Sokoto. Meantime, stakeholders in the maritime industry were divided on the issue, yesterday.

While some supported the ban, others kicked against it. Salame, in his presentation, argued that those making these policies have failed to patronise made-in-Nigeria goods, especially Nigerian assembled vehicles, which are, in any case unaffordable for 80 percent of Nigerians.

He said: “The percentage of Nigerians who can afford cars has declined drastically, following the decline in the value of the Naira, rising inflation, unemployment and high cost of living that have bedeviled Nigeria where over 80 per cent of Nigerians live below $2 a day. “The Federal Government has powers under Section 18 of the Customs and Excise Management Act to restrict the movement of goods into and out of Nigeria by land or inland waters and to appoint customs stations.

‘’However, similar exercise of such powers on rice importation through the land borders in April 2016, has occasioned untold hardship on Nigerians, as a bag of rice now sells for between N20,000 and N23,000, against N8,000 a few months ago.

“As it is now, the government has not put in place alternative measures to ensure that Nigerians will have access to cars since it is cheaper to buy cars from neighbouring countries and still generate revenue by ensuring that our borders are secured to prevent smuggling, and also that there will be no job losses.’’
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Nigeria’s Imports Drop on Renewed Drive to Encourage Local Production

The import substitution policies being driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government appear to be yielding results, as a country assessment report on Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that a sharp decline in imports contributed to a modest recovery in Nigeria’s external current account balance in the first half of 2016.

Although the report showed that Nigeria’s exports declined by 14 per cent in the first half of 2016, it revealed that imports fell more than proportionately by 25 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year.

Also, the foreign trade report released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the country’s total value of merchandise trade rose to N4.72 trillion in the third quarter (Q3) of 2016, representing an increase of 16.3 per cent, or N661.5 billion, compared to N4.06 trillion recorded in the preceding quarter of the year.

According to the NBS, the country’s balance of trade still remained negative despite the improvement, as the rise in exports in the quarter only helped to reduce the existing deficit trade balance from N484.23 billion in the preceding quarter to -N104.14 billion in the third quarter.

The IMF report, which detailed an assessment of Nigeria’s macroeconomic situation, was prepared for the African Development Bank (AfDB) by the Fund, as part of the conditions for the country to access the $1 billion budget support loan from AfDB.

 The document, dated September 30, 2016, was made available by a presidency source yesterday.
The AfDB in November released the first tranche of the loan amounting to $600 million.
It was also gathered that the country is aggressively working towards securing an additional $2.5 billion budget support loan from the World Bank, just as it finalises plans for its $1 billion Eurobond issue for the first quarter of next year.

Read More: thisdaylive

Nigeria Imports $227m Sugar In Seven Months

Nigeria imported $227million worth of sugar in the first seven months of this year, according to the central bank.

The highest monthly value of imports of $79.1 million was recorded in June, a Central Bank of Nigeria monthly compilation of funds used for sugar imports obtained by Bloomberg News showed Wednesday.

The amounts are for raw sugar as well “chemically pure glucose and glucose syrup not containing fructose,” according to the document.

The central bank ditched its 16-month old peg on the naira in June and introduced a flexible exchange rate regime to allow the currency to trade freely on the interbank market.

But dollar liquidity has remained a concern in the system with periodic intervention by the central bank. The central bank has told lenders to set aside extra provisions against their dollar loans.

While the naira closed at N314.14 to the dollar on the interbank forex market yesterday, on the parallel market, the nation’s currency went for N394 to the dollar Wednesday.

The central bank on Tuesday resolved to raise the amount of weekly foreign currency which banks are authorised to sell to Bureau de Change operators (BDCs) to $50,000 from the initial $30,000.
Speaking at the Bankers’ Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the Group Managing Director, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Kennedy Uzoka, said following the feedback from the market, the committee decided to effect an upward review in dollar sale to BDCs. He said the increase would make more cash available to BDCs and increase the supply which would help to drive down price.

Credit: thisdaylive