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New Guidelines On Use of Foreign Exchange for Payment of Shipping Charges Underway

August 11, 2014

Francis Ugwoke

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will soon release guidelines for utilisation of foreign exchange for the payment of ports and shipping charges.

The apex bank said that it will do this in conjunction with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), the ports regulator, in line with the agreement reached by stakeholders in the industry in November last year.

A Deputy Director, Trade and Exchange, Mrs. O.L. Ahuchogu had at a meeting with shipping stakeholders in Apapa recently expressed concern at the rate at which CBN receives applications for payment of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and other related charges.

Ahuchogun disclosed at the meeting that the increasing applications made the CBN to seek the opinion of the Shippers ' Council and other experts on the matter. She made it clear that transactions between stakeholders within Nigeria should use local currency as practised internationally.

She pointed out that some of the payments for which the shipping companies seek foreign exchange from CBN had already been paid in the contract of affreightment by shippers, adding that there was no need for the shipping companies or agents to source for foreign currency for such payments.

During the meeting, the proposed guideline, THISDAY gathered, was read to the stakeholders who attended the meeting in Apapa.

Among the resolutions reached during the meeting co-chaired by the Director of Commercial Shipping Service of the Shippers Council, Mrs D. Shall-Holma, who represented the Executive Secretary, Mr. Hassan Bello, was that all foreign shipping companies and agents should henceforth maintain disbursement account for settlements of NPA and NIMASA, and other local shipping charges, including chandling fees.

Another outcome of the meeting was that local shipping agents shall not be allowed to access the interbank market to pay statutory charges. However payment of freight and charter party fees would have to be confirmed by the Shippers' Council as a requirement.

In the same manner, it was agreed that remittance of demurrage arising from delays encountered by vessels shall be allowed subject to confirmation by the Shippers' Council and submission of evidence of the dates of arrival and departure of vessel as obtained from the NPA and such remittance should be made with interbank fund only.

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Source: AllAfrica

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