- COVID-19: Nigeria Loses More Than N20bn in 7 Days
The Federal Government has lost more than N20 billion in the last 7 days, according to Dr. Ola Olugbese, Chairman, Ogbese Marine Services Limited, a licensed Customs agent.
The Federal Government had ordered lockdown in Lagos, Ogun State and Abuja to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the states.
However, the closure of banks at the nation’s key ports due to the lockdown is hurting government’s revenue generation.
“Due to the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic, banks were closed. Government needs revenue. That is why Customs was mandated to work as the ports remain open. Unfortunately, government forgot that Customs work hand in hand with banks. Customs does not accept cash from importers or agents except bank draft. If banks are not working, how can government generate revenue?”, he asked.
Therefore, Olugbese urged the federal government to mandate the banks to at least offer skeletal services at the nation’s port to ease the challenges faced by agents and importers.
He said importers and agents are stranded as they can no longer access Form M.
“Form M is part of the documents needed to import goods into the country. It is generated from the banks. Only those who paid before the lockdown are the ones taking possession of their goods. Every other person is stuck. Banks should be allowed to operate”, he said.
He also urged the government not to prolong the lockdown as been speculated. “If the lockdown is prolonged, the maritime sector will be the worst hit.