By Godwin Oritse
FREIGHT forwarders operating at the Ports and Terminal Multi-purpose Services Limited (PTML) have decried the delay currently being experienced at the terminal just as the agents also alleged extortion by its officials.
Protesting Customs agents who spoke to Vanguard said that the officials of the terminal have been having problem in issuingÂ exit notes to agents.
The agents also noted that the terminal does not have enough personnel to man its offices at the terminalÂ as there are only four officers attending toÂ several hundreds of agents.
Mr Emmanuel Amoo one of the agents who spoke to Vanguard said that the management of the terminal have finding it difficult to print out exit note.
Amoo explained that before now exit note is usually printed in about three or four places until the government transferred the duty to terminal operators whom he says do not have the wherewithal to take on this additional responsibilities.
He added that the issuance of exit note could take two or three days for officials ofÂ the terminal to print out thereby wasting valuable time and manpower.
He said â€œThe exit that is normally printed in about four or five places are now printed in just one place and one could spend two or three days there and when you finally get there to find out the problem you will see that the whole system is almost impossible.
â€œBefore now the Nigeria Customs Service issues exit until recently when the Government transferred that responsibility to the terminal and the delay and extortion are what we are presently experiencing.
The agents also complained about the late arrival of vessels which has become very irregular in recent times.
They said that vessels are always arriving three or four days later than their expected date of arrival.
Usman Jimmy of Redline Limited said that terminal operators are not used to this duty the government has given them to do.
Usman added that without the exit, an agent cannot proceed with the process of cargo clearance adding that since the terminal operators is having more vessels calling at its terminal, it ought to have deployed more workers to the terminal to ease the movement of goods out of the port.
In a swift reaction to the agitation of agents, Mr Ascanio Russo,. Director of PTML did admitted that fact the terminal is short of personnel adding that this is because of a delay being experienced from the Lagos State Government who need to approve the construction of tits jetty at its Mile 2 terminal.
He explained thatÂ the terminal is going through a very unusual time and appeal to the agents to be patient to have the problems resolved.
Russo said that the terminal is prepared to grant waivers on certain categories of cargoes whose documentation got to the terminal before the problem started.
â€œ This is a problem we are all facing and there are two ways to this problem, it is either we sit down and look for a solution to the problem and we fight each other, but I do not think we should fight each other.â€œThe issue of extortion by our officers is something we do not tolerate bribery, we do not tolerate Public Relations â€œ he added.