The Nigerian Ports Authority explained that it charges operators in dollars because shipping is an international business and the dollar is the globally recognized currency.

NPA's Acting General Manager of Corporate and Strategic Communications, Ms. Sarah Ballah, recently explained in a chat with The punch.

In a bid to reduce pressure on the naira, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has assembled a special task force of 7,000 men in its 14 zonal commands to crack down on private organizations collecting dollars as a means of payment in the country.

Spokesperson of the anti-corruption agency, Dele Oyewale, in a statement in Abuja, said the commission had called out owners of private universities and other schools that charge bribes in dollars.

The naira is in freefall due to the shortage of dollars in the country.

The exchange rate for cargo clearance rose from 952/$/$ in January to 1,447/$ on Saturday.

According to the NPA spokesperson, the agency charges in dollars because most of the transactions it carries out are international.

“Firstly, NPA transactions are international because maritime business is international. And as we are dealing with an international community, some transactions have to be made based on the internationally accepted medium of exchange. The dollar is a common means of international exchange.

“What the government said was for local commercial transactions. There is no way to use naira to buy something in Europe. And some of the things that the NPA does, like buying ships and things like that, are done in dollars because we are dealing with an international community,” she said.

He added that barge operators could pay in dollars or dollar equivalents.

“However, there are some transactions that the NPA undertakes like barge operations and so on, they are charged in dollars because it is the same thing that applies, but they can pay the equivalent in naira based on the existing exchange rate. Therefore, I do not believe that this directive will affect all NPA transactions,” he concluded.