Abiola Seun |
Seven months after the Federal Government directed that waivers on rent at the seaports should be granted on goods trapped at the port due to the effects of COVID-19 lockdown, the service providers seemed not to have heeded the directive.
Consequently, Customs brokers operating at the nation’s maritime sector have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari over refusal of terminal operators to refund storage charges accrued during lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The agents, having waited to no avail, urged President Buhari to intervene and ensure swift refund of the rent fees.
In a letter of protest to President Buhari, the President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said all the terminals have refused to refund the payment for the 35 days lockdown waiver on COVID-19, after collecting the money from importers and licensed Customs agents.
He enjoined the Federal Government to compel the terminal operators to refund all illegally and forcefully collected COVID-19 relief measures, approved for importers and licensed Customs agents.
Amiwero however urged the Presidency to compel the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to make the terminal operators refund the fees, which was hitherto collected illegally in flagrant disregard for government’s directive.
The waiver was provided as an incentive to consignees to encourage clearance during the lockdown for a period of 35 days from March 23rd.
Recall that Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, had earlier explained that the waivers were meant to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 on the consignees.
She said the government would refund the terminal operators by way of credit note equating to the exact amount involved.
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