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Importers, Cargo Handlers Fight as Demurrage Hits N2bn

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Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
  • Importers, Cargo Handlers Fight as Demurrage Hits N2bn

Many importers were dumbfounded following the imposition of demurrage on their goods despite knowing that the COVID-19 lockdown enforced by the Federal Government had prevented them from clearing their goods since March.

According to our checks, goods worth billions of naira brought into the country since March remained in the warehouse of cargo handlers and have accumulated storage fees of over N2 billion.

At a daily storage fee of about N12 per kilo, some of the cargoes had accumulated storage fees in excess of N4 million during the five weeks they had been in storage.

Speaking on the situation, the Managing Director, Skynet Worldwide, a major courier service provider, Tayo Ogundare, said, “Since the lockdown, our goods have been in the warehouses at the airport. The Customs were not working; the airport staff were not working.

“There are billions of naira worth of goods in the warehouses. Importers cannot access their goods now that the lockdown has been lifted because the handling companies are asking for demurrage.

“The Federal Government should intervene and waive the demurrage. There are people that have 20,000 kilogrammes, 3,800 kg and other cargo weights in the warehouses. Some of them will pay up to N3m; others, N4m or more in demurrage if it is not waived.”

The Logistics Manager, Smile Communications, a leading Internet service provider, Danjuma Okeme, said, “We shipped our network-related items before the lockdown.

“We were in the process of clearing them; we had to go to Apapa to pay the Customs duty since the banks at the airport were not open.

“The agency needed just one or two documentation to complete the clearing process before the lockdown.”

Okeme whose company has more than three tonnes of routers stuck in the warehouses insisted that the cargo was a special duty cargo that was not supposed to be affected by the lockdown.

He said, “Now the line is handicapped and we cannot service our customers.

“The situation is affecting our network. Customers are calling from everywhere because everything, including schools, is now online.

“It is a pity that at this critical time, Smile cannot stand for its customers. Some people have gone ahead and paid for the service, but we cannot work because our equipment is in the warehouse.”

According to him, if demurrage should be calculated on the cargo belonging to the firm, it will have to pay over N4m for the period.

He said, “I think the government should call a stakeholders’ meeting and let everybody know that during lockdown or war, people are not supposed to pay any kind of demurrage,” he said.

Another agent and a member of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Kayode Agimati, pointed out that the lockdown was not the fault of the cargo owners, saying that the Federal Government had asked people to stay at home and away from the airports.

He said, “When the lockdown was lifted, we were expecting to be told to pay the handling charges. We did not expect them to ask us for demurrage on the cargo that we could not clear during the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, all the warehouses at the airport were locked and nobody could clear goods.”

He said some of his clients’ goods had accumulated N2.4m while others had accumulated N800,000 and more in demurrage.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigerian Brewers Post Combined Loss of N169.7 Billion

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Nigerian Breweries - Investors King

Nigerian brewers collectively faced a significant setback in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a comprehensive analysis of financial statements from leading brewing companies, including Champion Breweries Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, International Breweries Plc, and Guinness Nigeria Plc, the industry reported a combined loss of N169.7 billion.

This downturn is in contrast to the same period last year when three of the four major brewers recorded a total loss of N54.3 billion, while Guinness Nigeria managed to eke out a modest profit of N1.84 billion.

Experts attribute this dramatic reversal to a multitude of factors, with the foremost being the steep devaluation of the Nigerian naira coupled with soaring interest rates.

The fluctuating exchange rates have exacerbated the financial woes of brewing companies, particularly those with significant dollar exposures.

International Breweries, for instance, saw its foreign exchange loss balloon to N162.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024 from an FX gain of N1.22 billion in the same period last year.

Similarly, Nigerian Breweries and Guinness Nigeria reported substantial FX losses of N72.85 billion and N37.06 billion, respectively, compared to much lower losses or gains in the previous year.

Even Champion Breweries, which did not record any FX loss in the comparative period, reported a loss of N0.74 billion in Q1 2024.

Industry analysts emphasize that the weakened naira has intensified the costs associated with servicing foreign debt obligations, further straining profit margins.

The shift to a floating exchange rate regime has led to rapid depreciation of the naira, resulting in significant FX losses across the brewing sector.

Moreover, the decline in consumer spending has added to the sector’s woes. Inflationary pressures have eroded the purchasing power and disposable income of consumers, forcing them to prioritize spending and seek cheaper alternatives.

Femi Egbesola, the national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, notes that inflation has significantly reduced consumers’ purchasing power, impacting their willingness to spend on alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, increased competition from alternative beverages and a more diverse range of beer options have intensified market competition, squeezing profit margins for brewing companies.

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Appointments

United Bank for Africa Welcomes Emmanuel Nnorom to Board

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Emmanuel Nnorom

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s leading global bank, has announced the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as its new non-executive director, effective April 30, 2024.

This strategic appointment has received the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as of May 13, 2024.

In an official statement, UBA highlighted the significance of Nnorom’s addition to the board. “Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), hereby announces the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as a non-executive director effective April 30, 2024.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted approval for this appointment on May 13, 2024.”

Tony Elumelu, Group Chairman at UBA, expressed his enthusiasm about the appointment.

“The appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom, a professional with considerable experience in the sector, emphasizes our Group’s commitment to strong governance and excellence. Nnorom brings a track record of working in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power, and a pan-African perspective that complements our existing Board.”

With over 40 years of experience in financial services and audit, Nnorom’s extensive background includes significant board roles with listed companies.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Also, he is an alumnus of Templeton College, Oxford, further underscoring his vast expertise and qualifications.

UBA, which provides retail, commercial, and institutional banking services across several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, and the United Arab Emirates, continues to lead in financial inclusion and the implementation of cutting-edge technology.

This appointment comes at a time when UBA is celebrating record-breaking financial achievements. The bank recently reported over N2 trillion in revenue and a profit of N607.69 billion, the highest in its banking history.

Nnorom’s appointment is expected to bolster UBA’s board, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the bank’s operations. His experience in both financial services and critical sectors of the economy will be invaluable as UBA continues to expand its footprint and reinforce its commitment to excellence and strong governance.

As UBA continues to navigate the complexities of the global financial landscape, the addition of a seasoned professional like Emmanuel Nnorom signals the bank’s dedication to sustaining its growth trajectory and maintaining its position as a leading financial institution in Africa and beyond.

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Company News

Dangote Refinery Raises Diesel Price to N1,100/Litre Due to Naira-Dollar Crash

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Dangote Refinery has announced an increase in the price of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) from N940 per litre to N1,100 per litre.

This significant adjustment in pricing reflects the refinery’s efforts to mitigate the impact of currency depreciation on its operations.

The decision to raise the price of diesel comes amidst ongoing challenges in the foreign exchange market, with the naira experiencing a downward spiral against the dollar in recent weeks.

The refinery cited the unfavorable exchange rate as the primary driver behind the price hike, signaling the intricacies of operating in a volatile economic environment.

It is worth noting that just a few weeks ago, on April 24, 2024, Dangote Refinery had announced a reduction in the prices of diesel and aviation fuel to N940 per litre and N980 per litre, respectively.

This move was aimed at responding to calls from oil marketers for a reduction in diesel prices, demonstrating the refinery’s willingness to adapt to market dynamics.

However, the recent depreciation of the naira has necessitated a reversal of this downward trend, prompting Dangote Refinery to adjust its pricing strategy accordingly.

Some dealers reported purchasing diesel from the plant at even higher rates, reaching up to N1,200 per litre for those procuring lesser volumes.

Abubakar Maigandi, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, attributed the price increase to the rising exchange rate, as communicated by the refinery.

He emphasized the direct correlation between currency fluctuations and the cost of imported commodities, such as crude oil, which forms the basis for diesel production.

While officials of the refinery have remained tight-lipped on the matter, industry sources and major marketers have corroborated reports of the price adjustment.

Chief Ukadike Chinedu, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the adverse impact of the naira’s depreciation on refined product prices.

The recent fluctuations in the naira-dollar exchange rate underscore the challenges facing Nigeria’s economy, with implications for various sectors, including energy and transportation.

Despite initial signs of stability earlier in the year, the naira’s recent depreciation has reignited concerns about inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

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