By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Nigeria Customs Service has suspended Guarantee Trust Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Guarantee Trust Holding Company (GTCO) from collection of duties on imported cargoes at Nigerian ports.
DAILY TREND investigations at the port on Wednesday revealed that several cargoes have been trapped at the port since Monday this week because freight forwarders could not complete their clearance.
Confirming the GTB Bank suspension to DAILY TREND, National Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Customs Service, Deputy Comptroller Timi Bomodi said the bank was on temporary suspension on orders of the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, demurrages have started accruing on some cargoes that have already made payments through the GTB Bank.
Registering the complaints of Clearing Agents, Taskforce Chairman of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Tin Can Port Chapter, Alhaji Rilwan Amuni lamented that there was no official notice or circular from customs to warn the agents from making payments through the suspended bank.
Speaking, he said “There are cargoes we have paid duty on, using Gtbank, some people have paid money, while some have captured the cargo for payment.
“It is unfortunate that when we are about processing our documents after payment, the customs did not attend to the jobs we have paid for, they said that Gtbank has been suspended from their portal
“Since last week Friday, most of our jobs have been trapped at the port until now, and this is happening at all ports generally.
“I want to believe that the remittances to the Federal Government has not been paid for some time and this could be the reason.
“Ordinarily, customs should have cleared the cargoes we have paid for, but they have refused.
“The effect is that we are going to be paying huge demurrages, the customs are supposed to inform the shipping companies, in order to help us from paying these demurrages but they would not do that, there is lack of communication among all the players at the port”