We are yet  to receive refunds from service providers— Customs brokers

Chinazor Megbolu

Importers and their agents in the maritime industry said they are growing weary of waiting to collect the refunds of the demurrage charges paid to the shipping companies and terminal operators, several days the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) claimed it has secured the release of the funds.

 It could be recalled that Tony Iju Nwabunike, the National President of ANLCA, this week, claimed the association has secured about N60 million as the refunds of monies illegally collected by the service providers during the Covid-19 lockdown.
But in an exclusive chat with our correspondent,   the Head, Research and Development of ANLCA, Mr. Pius Ujubuonu, said he was aware that NSC directed the shipping firms and terminal operators to drop a certain amount of demurrage during the lockdown period, but that some of them didn’t comply.
“We’re aware that NSC has made most of the shipping companies to drop a particular percentage of demurrage during the lockdown period.
“Some shipping firms tried as much as possible to waive though, but not as much as they were told. Most terminal operators were adamant or not responding at all.
“I wouldn’t really know the level of enforcement from the NSC. We know that they mentioned and wrote about it but enforcement is the first thing,” Ujubuonu said.
Speaking further on the refund, he queried the level of the refund and showed dissatisfaction that the shipping companies and terminal operators haven’t complied.
According to him, “what’s the level of refund? When they say a thing, these people will say they will do it but at the end, they won’t”.
Ujubuonu, however, disclosed that the compliance level is very low adding that so far, he’s yet to see anyone who has collected any refund.
“I don’t know the number of people that have gotten the refund. I can’t categorically say that the compliance level is optimal. I am not very sure,” Ujubuonu said.
Meanwhile, another ANLCA chieftain, Mr. Anthony Anakebe disclosed that most of the shipping companies are not complying with the directive of the NSC, adding that most of them don’t have the required information.
“Most of the shipping companies are not complying with the directive of the NSC. Most of them don’t have the information required. But, we are watching them.
“As at now, most of the companies we work for have not gotten anything from shipping companies or terminal operators.
“If NSC says they secured it, where is it? You can’t tell us you secured something and we didn’t receive it.
“I know of many containers that have shipping charges worth over N4 million and no refund yet,” Anakebe said.

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