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Inflation Pushing Truckers Out Of Business, Group Laments

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As the inflation rate bites harder, truckers have said that about half of their members are leaving the job for other businesses.

In an exclusive chat with The PUNCH in Lagos on Wednesday, former Dry Cargo Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, Abdullahi Inuwa, said that the sector was riddled with a lot of challenges.

Inuwa fingered drop in cargoes, high cost of truck maintenance and diesel as reasons for the dwindling fortunes of the sector.

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“From my own side, the work is not friendly because of drop in activities. This is coupled with the high cost of maintaining trucks, diesel and other activities. Some people who have, for instance, 10 trucks may be managing to maintain five now to have money for other businesses. I have to park 0my trucks for now. I am currently not doing port operations now. So, about 50 per cent truckers have parked their trucks pending when things will improve. Some are looking for other ways of survival. I started seeing this development in November 2021. You are aware that earlier this year, there was scarcity of empty containers in Europe, coupled with lack of access to forex.”

He also accused the Federal Government of focusing more on generating revenue than encouraging trade.

“Our government’s approach to tariffs, especially the Customs, is not encouraging. They don’t think of encouraging the industry because they are always increasing tariffs and targeting gaining more revenue.”

Inuwa said that the situation is worse for truckers who were not resident in Lagos because they had to pay for parking for the number of days they would stay, with little or no cargo to go back with.

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READ ALSO: Inflation Hits 16.82%, Exceeds IMF’s 2022 Projection

Corroborating Inuwa’s submission, the Head of Operation, NARTO, Mr Stephen Okafor, said that truckers were not breaking even, noting that other sectors had increased their rates except the trucking sector.

According to him, “I know a whole lot of people have actually left the business. People are actually going out of business and if it continues like that, a whole lot of people will still leave.”

Also speaking, the President of the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations, Mr Adeyinka Arowoyewun, said, “The level of importation has drastically reduced due to so many factors which have to do with the exchange rate, war in Ukraine and Russia, and the policies of government vis a vis increase in tariff. I agree that importation has reduced and a lot of truckers have actually abandoned that business.”

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JUST IN: CBN Raises Interest Rate to 26.75% Amid Surging Inflation

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, on Tuesday raised the interest by 50 basis points to 26.75 per cent from 26.25 per cent in May 2024.

CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, announced this at a press briefing on Tuesday at the end of the two-day 296th MPC in Abuja.

According to him, the decision to further increase the interest rate is to tackle the country’s rising core inflation and food inflation which stood at 34.19 per cent and 40.87 per cent, respectively in June.

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He said members of the MPC are not oblivious of the need to address the rising prices of food in Nigeria, necessitating the interest rate hike.

DAILY POST reports that the implication of the interest rate hike is that businesses, farmers, manufacturers and investors will have to pay more to get loans from banks.

The 296th MPC meeting is the fourth time the interest rate has been increased since the appointment of Cardoso in September last year.

Recall that in May 2023, when President Bola Tinubu was inaugurated, Nigeria’s interest rate stood at 18.75 per cent while inflation rate stood at 22.41 per cent.

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Meanwhile, despite CBN’s continued interest rate hikes, the country’s inflation has not cooled off.

Earlier analysts had called for a pause in the hike of the interest rate.

The Director of the Centre for Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, backed call for a pause in the hike of the interest rate.

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According to him, the monetary instruments have been overstretched, hence not productive.

“I think we have overstretched monetary instruments because of inflation. They should put a pause on interest rate hikes,” he said.

 

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CAC To Cancel Certificates Of BDCs With Revoked Licences

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said it would cancel the certificates of incorporation of Bureaux De Change(BCDs) whose licences have been revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN).

The Nation reported in February the CBN revoked the licences of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators over their failure to meet regulatory guidelines.

In a statement by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Sidi Hakama, CBN explained that the regulatory provisions flouted include nonpayment of all necessary fees within the stipulated period.

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CBN said: “The affected institutions failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions: Payment of all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with the guidelines.

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“Rendition of returns in line with the guidelines; compliance with guidelines, directives, and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism and Counter-Proliferation Financing regulations.”

However, in line with the above directive by the CBN, the CAC in a notice on its website on Wednesday, said the certificates would be cancelled within three months if the affected companies do not change the names and objects of such companies.

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The general public is hereby informed that following the revocation of the operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria vide a Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette (Vol. 111) No. 37 of February 27, 2024 for noncompliance with Regulatory Standards, the Corporate Affairs Commission in the exercise of its powers under section 8(1)(e) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 advises these companies to within three months from the date of this publication, change the names and objects of such companies.

“Failure to change the names and objects within the stipulated time frame shall result in cancellation of certificate of incorporation and dissolution. It is to be noted that it is unlawful for a company whose certificate has been deemed dissolved to carry on business,” the CAC notice reads.

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FG Suspends Taxes On Maize, Wheat, Rice, Others

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The Federal Government has suspended duties, tariffs and taxes on some essential food items imported through land and sea borders.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Abubakar Kyari, announced this at the National Press Centre, Abuja.

Kyari also said the Federal Government has also inaugurated the Renewed Hope National Livestock Transformation Implementation Committee to develop and implement policies that prioritize livestock development and align with the National Livestock Transformation Plan.

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He stated that the listed food items, which include maize, wheat, husked brown rice and cowpeas, will enjoy a 150-day Duty-Free Import Window.

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He added that the move is part of the Presidential Accelerated Stabilization and Advancement Plan, which is aimed at achieving food security and economic stability in the country.

According to him: “The Federal Government has announced a 150-day Duty-Free Import Window for Food Commodities, suspension of duties, tariffs and taxes for the importation of certain food commodities (through land and sea borders). These commodities include maize, husked brown rice, wheat and cowpeas.

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“Under this arrangement, imported food commodities will be subjected to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP).

“I am glad to reiterate that the Government’s position exemplifies standards that would not compromise the safety of the various food items for consumption.

“In addition to the importation by the private sector, the Federal Government will import 250,000MT of wheat and 250,000MT of maize. The imported food commodities in their semi-processed state will target supplies to the small-scale processors and millers across the country.”

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