By DAPO OLAWUNI
Port economic regulator; Nigerian Shippers Council has secured a N40million demurage refund for 100 members of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) over the illegal charges collected from them during the COVID-19 lockdown.
National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukhaila confirmed this exclusively to DAILY TREND NEWS at the weekend, adding that the association has about 400 complainants, out of which 100 of them have already gotten their refunds.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) had during the COVID-19 lockdown directed shipping companies and terminal operators to suspend collection of storage and demurrage charges collection on cargoes.
But most of the terminal operators and shipping companies disregarded the NPA and went ahead to collect these charges.
Speaking exclusively with DAILY TREND NEWS recently, members of ANLCA said the association had collected receipts from members affected during the lockdown and that this was submitted to the Shippers Council and NPA for further action.
“Many of us initially refused to come onboard to submit the invoice and debit notes, we have lost faith, we know that nothing would come out of the exercise, personal interests of our leaders have now affected it” one of them said
When he was contacted by DAILY TREND NEWS, the Western Zone Cordinator of ANLCA, Sir John Offorbike explained that about 800 receipts were submitted to him by members.
He said the receipts have been collated and handed over to the ANLCA national President, Tony Iju Nwabunike who is also a member of the COVID-19 Committee for necessary actions.
Speaking, he said “We did a collation of all the monies collected in line with directive of the NPA. Haven done that, I am to work day to day with the ANLCA President, after reporting what happens at chapter level, he takes presidential actions”
“We have collected all the debit notes to show that terminal operators, shipping companies flouted the NPA order, none of them obeyed, I have written a cover note with it addressed to the president through the National Secretary”
“The receipts are more that 500, it is up to 800 of them” Offorbike stated
But speaking with our correspondent at the weekend, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila said “Presently, we have close to 400 members claims and about 100 claimants gotten refunds”
“Further processes post May 5th, 2020 after lifting of lockdown claimants are at advance stage with ANLCA/NSC/NPA Collaborations”
When asked to state the amount so far refunded, Mukaila said “I won’t be able to quantify, but however, it’s a possibility of averagely 30 -40million”