Anxiety At Nigerian Ports, As Customs Server Shutdown Cripple Activities Again

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Col Hameed Ali, Customs Comptroller General

By DAPO OLAWUNI

There is anxiety at Nigerian ports in Lagos as cargoes imported since last week Wednesday could not be captured for duty payment and exited from the ports, this is due to a breakdown in the server of the Nigeria Customs Service.

DAILY TREND reports that there has been constant breakdown in the server of the Nigeria Customs. Licensed Customs Agents have linked the breakdown to the inadequacies of it’s service providers; Webb Fontaine Limited

Speaking with our correspondent on Monday, a licensed customs agent at the Tin Can Port, Hon Remilekun Sikiru lamented that demiurge and storage charges are accruingon the trapped cargoes at the port.

He said “With the total shutdown of customs server since last week, it is becoming alarming and definitely going to cause a lot of havoc to the importer and the clearing agents if nothing is done.

“Am using this opportunity to appeal to all shipping companies and terminal owners to look into the current situation and use their good offices to grant a waiver to us so as to reduced the burden on both the importer and clearing agents shoulder.

“And to my fellow colleagues and professionals leaders, pls play a professional role by informing your importers on what’s happening currently, carry them along” he said

According to him, the licensed customs agent has always been the victim of the constant customs server breakdowns

“65% of clearing agents have stopped coming to the port, some have gone back to their villages as a result of the policies being implemented by the customs on duty collection.

“The 90% increase in customs duty has jeopardize and crippled the industry and the economy as a whole, this has rendered a lot of young professionals jobless on the street” Hon Remilekun stated.

Also speaking with our correspondent, Mr Thimothy Adebowale lamented that the customs have been unable to release cargoes since last week.

“There are cargoes that has been released but cannot be exited for delivery, the cargoes are tied down
I have two cargoes at PTML Terminal and today (Monday morning) the problem persisted.

“For over three months now, only a single officer is releasing cargoes at PTML Command. The customs have nothing to lose, it is the agents that would bear the brunt, the importer would not listen to you, he would tell you that he has already given you all necessary dues before the arrival of the vessel” he said

Also speaking, Chief Emmanuel Ohambele, Chairman of Association of Registered Freight Forwarders (AREFFN) at PTML Command lamented that freight forwarders are totally stranded at the port.

“This is Christmas coming, and we know how much revenue that we have lost already” he said

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