High Cost of Forex: Bizman Tunde Okiwe Laments

A freight forwarder and end-to-end services provider, Mr Tunde Okiwe, has expressed concerns over difficulties faced by businesses in the ecosystem, due to challenges in accessing forex.

According to Okiwe, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Baxwell Global Solutions ltd., while speaking in Lagos, the continuous surge in dollar exchange rate was affecting importers.

He said about two weeks ago, the Nigeria Customs Service increased its exchange rate from N951 to N1,413, making it difficult for businesses to cope, especially with the high duty payable.

He highlighted the importance of government engendering ‘ease of doing business’ to grow the economy and to erase the ‘busuness used to be good’ mantra.

“It is disheartening that nothing is being done regarding exchange rate and accessible forex, which is killing our businesses as air freight forwarders. The sector is going down.

“Suppliers are finding it difficult to go to the market to buy items abroad and bring them to Nigeria. The problem is the exchange rate, and forex is another problem.

“About two weeks ago, NCS brought a new exchange rate which is really killing us now, from N951 to N1,413, that is a huge difference, so we are finding it very difficult to cope for now.

“With the exchange rate by NCS, the duty payable is higher than what we were paying before,” he noted.

Okiwe said that the Federal Government should consider businesses that could pack up as a result of the issues around forex because many are just praying to survive.

He said that the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCOaviance) also increased its charges annually.

“Sometime in December 2023, NAHCOaviance increased their charges, it was high and freight forwarders had to stop work.

“We went into dialogue with them, but the new charge is what we are working with currently.”

Okiwe said that running a business in Nigeria was difficult because there was hardly any external help, and the business owner struggled to remain afloat.

He said that issues around exchange rate should be taken as serious business, adding that naira should be celebrated instead of the dollar.