…CGC Stops Commands from Impounding Trucks Alongside Cargoes
By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that the Nigeria Customs Service is set to begin evacuation of overtime cargoes from all-over Nigerian ports, even as the Customs Comptroller General, Wale Adeniyi has announced that
there would be consultations with terminal operators to enable agreement on appropriate handling charges and processing to input for the evacuation exercises.
The Customs boss has also said that trucks would no longer be impounded alongside containers after the driver has been exonerated of any complicity.
These were part of the nine point agenda that was discussed and agreed upon at a stakeholders meeting conveyed by the Customs at the Marriot Hotel in Lagos on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) have argued that auctioning of overtime cargoes should not take place inside port terminals, but at the Ikorodu government warehouse.
Speaking with DAILY TREND at the end of the stakeholders meeting presided by the Customs CG on Monday, Chairman of Ikorodu Chapter of ANLCA, Chief Ikechukwu Martins advised Customs authorities to evacuate all the overtime cargoes to Ikorodu government warehouse, from where they should now begin the process of auction.
He said that terminal operators and shipping companies should consider their revenue from overtime cargoes as a bad debt.
“I am using this avenue to tell Nigeria customs not to adhere to the shipping company or terminal operators plea, saying the clearing agents should come for waiver of 50% on a container of 2015 upward which may distract all the effort of our career CGC Adewale Adeniyi
“I advice them to move all the overtime containers to the Government warehouse Ikorodu. I also advice the terminal operators and shipping companies to see this as bad debt .
“During the 2010/11 public auctions at the Port, there were some containers that couldn’t come with transfer to Ikorodu the major Port and Customs decided to auction them at the various Ports. But to my greatest surprise at that time, you would see Importers of the overtime cargoes coming forward to fight beneficiaries of the auctioned cargo
“I could remember Area B police station was filled up with auction cases then, people fighting each other and a lot of damages occurred, whereby every police station was filled up with container auction crisis.
“In order to avoid a recurrence of such incidences at this time, Customs should move all the overtime containers to Ikorodu government warehouse where no one can claim ownership of consignment that has stayed over the years, and let the shipping companies and terminal operators send their various representative to be recovering their boxes and generating revenues for them” Martins stated
The ANLCA Chairman revealed that after evacuating all scrapped vehicles from Ikorodu warehouse, the warehouse currently has space to accommodate over 13,000 containers and vehicles.
He also called for inclusion of more stakeholders in the overtime cargoes committee as the evacuation exercise is about to commence.
Meanwhile, the nine point agenda agreed upon at the meeting which was reeled out by the Customs boss are;
1- Commitment to the implementation of the 48hr clearance of goods and towards working on elimination of those obstacles that we have recognised.
2-Commitment towards the ports decongestion exercise,consultation with terminal operators will continue to enable us agreed on appropriate handling Charges and processing we are going to input for the exercises.
3-Processes of the constitution of the committee,with representatives from the terminal operators and shipping companies. Going to be tasking Shipping Companies based on the privatisation policy of Cargo.
4-Onscanning, working with terminal operators, to take actions, to address increase capacity in scanning. Yes we know that the Scanners are n enough but the question ,even those ones available now, are not adequately utilized,so we will take immediate action to increase capacity in Scanning.
5-Fast track containers will no longer be subjected to scanning in Mother Ports. They will move straight to owners premises and Post Clearance Audit of Customs in conjunction with Government Agencies will be empower to follow suit those Containers to owners premises .
6-The processes of transire will be streamlined best processing in terms of management and implementation of transire to ensure that the time it takes to process is reduced and to check the integrity issues involved are well taking care off.
7-A stakeholders point of view on the level of compliance by custom agents,through training for higher level of compliance.
8-Truck owners as critical stakeholders and a supply chain,custom will not hold them accountable if they are cleared from any form of malpractices.
9-Some issues can now be handled at the Custom Zonal level,there’s no need coming to Custom HQ Abuja for resolution. Zonal Cordinators will be duly empowered.