Segun Oladipupo & Chinazor Megbolu
A Customs broker has called on the federal government to prevail on shipping companies and terminal operators to give 30 days grace period to importers before charging for demurrage.
Mr. Segun Folorunso Alabi, Managing Director of Fatotom Nigeria Limited made the request on Friday in a chat with our correspondent in Lagos.
He averred that the major problem both agents and importers are facing is the shipping companies.
Alabi explained that the agents are facing untold hardship in the hands of the shipping companies especially in the area of demurrage charges even as he urged the federal government to mandate the liners to give them 30 days demurrage free in a bid to enable them pick their consignments.
He queried the rationale behind charging demurrage on containers stuck on the road due to bad roads and lack of holding bays.
Alabi further pointed out that the call-up system in Nigeria ports is a mirage and a failure and adding that the idea of a call-up system in Nigeria ports is laudable but not working.
“State of our infrastructures in the ports are so bad, which is making things very difficult for importers and the agents, “he said.
On the proposed plan by freight forwarders and truckers to down tools in January 2020, Alabi said he’s totally in support provided such action will bring succour for them.
According to him; “I am in total support of the move by freight forwarders and truckers to down tools. I’m aware of the group because I was invited to their meeting.
“Let government know about the state of the ports and do something about it in order to alleviate our pains”.
On revenue target declaration by Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), he frowned at the way and manner most of the Commands go about it describing it as crude.
“NCS revenue target collection is crude. Either by hook or crook to get this money”. “Imagine some customs officers stopping and arresting vehicles on the road and taking Federal Operations Unit (FOU) after having been checked out of the ports by their colleagues in the ports.
“Their major job is trade facilitation and not just arresting containers and sending them to FOU. Their manner of getting money is crude”, Alabi said.
He, however called on the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali to look into the matter and do the needful because to him, “due process in revenue target is not being followed”.
As a member of the electoral arm of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), he averred of his happiness and commended the reconciliation move by i’s National President, Honourable Tony Iju Nwabunike.
“I’m happy with reconciliation move by Honourable Tony Iju Nwabunike in ANLCA. It’s commendable and I appreciate him for the giant strides in making sure peace reigns in the organisation, “he said.
Furthermore, he declared his support for the border closure by the federal government.
“I love the closure of the border because it’s going to help local farmers and businessmen. I am condemning the total closure because there are goods that are not bound from coming in”.
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