Nigerian freight forwarders challenges govt’s cashless Economy
….says country not ripe for it
By Dapo OLAWUNI
THE cashless economy initiative which was initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and billed to commence fully by March 2012, may not work with operators at the nations ports as some freight forwarders have already started lamenting that the scheme, e-transact, is not working and would not work.
It was gathered that the federal government has already started test running the scheme in Lagos, especially at the port where some freight forwarders that have tried the system observed that the port is not yet matured enough for it.
Speaking exclusively to Biztellers in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, the chairman of the Ports and Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) chapter of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Ugochukwu Nnadi confirmed that the terminal already has a POS (point of sale) machine attached to a Diamond bank within the premises but that the system is not working.
According to him, there was an instance where agents had to queue up in order to use the facility but the machine was not accepting cards and virtually everyone ended up incurring demurrage for the day.
“We are not matured enough for e-payment, the facilities are not there, and even If they were we don’t have the manpower to handle It, by the time you discover that you cannot pay through the electronic system, you would have wasted the whole day, you will now have to go to the bank to obtain bank draft and start all over the next day”
“We should make do with what we have, hold your cash and go and pay and they release your consignment, e-payment is good and we like it cause ıi saves you the risk of losing money but we do not have the facilities yet”
Speaking further on the challenges, Nnadi said that the system requires the use of bank drafts and that most of the time it takes up to two days to get it processed.
Also speaking on the cashless policy scheme and e-transact, the Tin Can Island Port chapter of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA) Mr. Farinto Kayode confirmed that the scheme has been billed to commence fully by next month and that the various terminal operators and shipping companies are expected to have their POS machines.
Farinto advised that if the CBN can be serious about the scheme, It will go a long way in helping the maritime industry.
According to him, the e-transact will reduce the number of days and man hours spent at the shipping companies offices by freight forwarders.
He advised that a very strong service should be sustained with interswitch, so as to avoid the network challenges that may be associated with the process. “that is why the CBN have to be very serious about this policy, it is a policy that is not working yet but it is a welcome idea”
“It is called e-transact in view of government’s aspiration for a cashless economy, it is very good, and it is going to help our industry” he said.