The National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Hon. Iju Tony Nwabunike has lamented the non-implementation of the of 21-day Storage charges waiver as directed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
He disclosed this on a television programme in Lagos.
Nwabunike said terminal operators in Lagos ports are yet to implement the 21 days waivers of storage charges as mandated by the NPA.
Nwabunike explained that the NPA has stated that due to the lockdown by the federal government, and for continuous ports operations, terminal operators are to waive 21 days storage charges with effect from March 23, 2020 for all cargoes in Lagos ports towards bringing succour to importers and their agents.
He noted that despite the difficult circumstances customs brokers and freight forwarders are operating from, terminal operators are yet to adhere to the NPA directive.
Nwabunike also pointed out that customs brokers found it difficult to access the ports due to the lockdown until the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in collaboration with the Council for Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) stepped in to provide buses, which assisted his members on easy movement to and from the ports.
“The NPA has actually given us 21 days waivers on terminal changes, but it has not been implemented yet. We are looking forward to the implementation. “Even the 21 days is not enough due to the fact that before even the lockdown, people were scared of the Covid19 as such, the ports were witnessing skeletal services,” Nwabunike said.
He further maintained that congestion can only be eased up in Lagos ports after the Covid-19 pandemic but would be very hectic and troublesome.
He, however, advised that this is the period for cargoes in the Lagos ports to be transferred to bonded terminals and the maximum use of Eastern ports of Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri ports respectively.
“It is going to be very hectic and troublesome; we were told clearly that it’s only essential goods that are to be cleared from the ports during this period.
“Essential goods like medicaments, hospital equipment, beverages etc and these are not up to 30 per cent of cargoes in the ports. And as you know the ships are discharging every container, so the congestion will be hectic after the pandemic and that is why I said the 21 days storage charges waiver given by NPA is not even enough,” he said.
Nwabunike used the opportunity to laud the Federal Government for allowing ports operations during the lockdown as the maritime sector is next to oil in sustaining the economy.
He charged all the government agencies to continue to help port stakeholders to carry out their duties during this trying period in Nigeria.
Editing by ‘Biodun Soyele
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