NACCIMA raises alarm over loss of N1b export cargo to COVID-19 lockdown

The Nigeria Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) on Tuesday lamented the loss of N1 billion from cashew nuts export due to delay in gaining access to the port during the height of lockdown owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

The NACCIMA’s Head of Export Group, Kola Awe, raised the alarm during a workshop organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council for stakeholders on Trade Facilitation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Awe, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of KPT Logistics Limited, said Nigerian cashew shippers lost the huge sum due to lack of trade facilitation.

He represented the NACCIMA Director-General, Ayoola Olukanni, at a mini-sensitization workshop organized by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council on Tuesday.

He attributed the cause of damage of the commodities to poor infrastructure and moisture during that delay at the port access road as a result of gridlock and bad road.

His words, “Cashew nuts is a very sensitive product and does not allow for too much delay. Because there was a lot of congestion on the roads, the trucks were spending three weeks, one month and when a truck spends three weeks, one month and the cashew nuts is in a closed environment, the moisture content is going to go.

“When the moisture content becomes higher, it affects the cashew nuts. By the time the cashew nuts get to its destination, there is going to be a blame on the exporter.

“Then when it stays in there, it is going to damage. Sometimes it is difficult for you to export that damaged product. Also, a lot of people have bought cashew nuts and stocked them in the warehouse but could not export for three months- that is a huge loss to the country and average exporter.”

Harping on the need to embrace waterways mode of transportation, Awe tasked the government to look at the high cost of barge operations, calling on the Nigerian Shippers Council to engage the operators in a bid to reduce charges.

According to him, the council’s intervention on the need to reduce barge charges in ferrying export cargoes to the seaports would boost trade facilitation and further encourage shippers in their quest to generate foreign exchange for the nation, aside the non-oil sector of the economy.

He explained, “We believe the government should look at the cost of barges, it is very expensive. Export is a very competitive market. The same nuts we have in Nigeria is in Ghana, Togo, and everywhere. And if their infrastructure is better than ours, then our cost of production will be higher and we will not be able to compete with them in the international market.”

Awe spoke on the topic titled, “Measures To Boost Export Trade In Nigeria During And Post COVID-19.”

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