By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Shippers Association Lagos State (SALS) have called on the Federal Government for the restructuring and exclusion of household items from the import prohibition list, even as it called for suspension of the auction scheme run by the Nigeria Customs Service.
President of SALS, Rev Jonathan Nicole told DAILY TREND NEWS that Nigerian shippers are nation builders who should be encouraged and not frustrated by various draconian government regulations and harsh policies.
He tasked the Port Economic Regulator; Nigerian Shippers Council to ensure that goods brought into the country are cleared promptly by stopping harsh Government Import policies.
“In addition, remove domestic items from prohibition list. Seizing importers goods is draconian. The Import restrictions should be restructured. And abolish actions that will forcibly take cargo from Shippers and auctioned privately. Shippers should be encouraged” he said
SALS have also declared support for the various compliance teams recently established by freight forwarding associations, even as the Shippers said that the various regulatory agencies have failed woefully in their responsibilities.
Nicole warned that a tsunami is coming into the Nigerian maritime sector due to the collapse of trade facilitation.
“Shippers Association Lagos State is already discussing with our counterparts in the country. We will support any action that will bring Economic sanity within the clearing and logistics chain. A dangerous tsunami is brewing in the Maritime Industry” Nicole said
While highlighting some of the existing challenges, he said that after clearing cargoes from Nigerian ports, shippers continue to lose money because empty containers cannot be returned to the shipping companies due to lack of holding bays.
According to him, clearing cargoes at Nigerian Ports is 8-times more than the original cost of the goods. Where will the Shipper get extra funds for distribution to corrupt platforms, existing in the Ports? This is one of the reasons why goods are abandoned, he said
The statement reads in part; “Take a look at the port, it is dying slowly. It has never been like that. The Federal Government Agencies are sapping Shippers dry. Official and unofficial compulsory payments are made on every consignment”
“Trucking is another challenge. Take for instance, paying N1,000,000 to Ibadan. Local trips are between N350,000 to N800,000. It is unacceptable. But what do you expect the Shippers to do? Manufacturers suffer huge clearing bills to get their consignments delivered to them”
“Nigerian Freight Forwarders are frustrated compared with their foreign counterparts. Freight Forwarders are paid in crumbs by the imperialists foreign freight forwarders in the guise of collapse of Import Adjustments policies of Government”
“Trade facilitation no longer exists, some agencies are making so much money from Shippers instead of advice Government to control excesses. We are sad to say that in order to hide their shame, they brandish the Shippers as none complaint. Even those who do not know the origin of the advent of cargo are condemning Shippers for non- compliance”
“Without the cargo, there would be no existing Port Managers and other stakeholders. There would be no Port. Shipping will be non- existent in Nigeria”
The SALS boss reiterated that the alignment of major freight forwarding associations to checkmate infractions, such as Port corruption, violations of Rules of Engagement and Enforcements, shows that Government Agencies have nothing to offer anymore to the Trading public.
“It is a mark of failure. Perhaps this alignment will be a wakeup call to all and including Importers who declare something different from what is found in their boxes. The action of Freight Forwarders will be total and we suggest that Government should support them. It is the last hope of Shipping trade in Nigeria” he said