June 20, 2013

Presidency probes inefficient scanning, unethical practices at ports

THE Presidency has commenced investigations into  unethical  practices and inefficient scanning system in ports across the country. This is as a result of a petition by a group of stakeholders.

A letter from the Federal Government to the President of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA),   signed by one Azeez Margret on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said  that the petition  was receiving attention.

It will be recalled that the issue of inefficient scanning of cargoes at the ports has become a  matter of concern to stakeholders in the maritime industry.

In their petition, licensed customs agents accused  both the shipping companies and terminal operators of  charging port users services not rendered  adding that most of these illegal charges are not tied to any service.

The petition signed by Mr. Adeniyi Ajayi further  said that most of the duplicated charges  have been taken care of in the Terminal Handling Charge (THC)but that  shipping firms and terminal operators  still come up with other  charges that are not authorised by any government agency.

The letter reads in part: “ We wish to bring to your notice through this medium the unwholesome attitudes of some  shipping companies and concessionaires towards consumers of their services.

“Shipping companies give advance invoicing, sometimes,  two weeks before the release of  cargo and it takes three days to pick up debit notes from these  shipping firms.

“The high tariff and charges that are  not tied to any service rendered have made the port to be most expensive and unfriendly and some of the charges includes Terminal Handling  Charges, Scanning/Customs Examination charges , Labour charges, Transfer charges and Delivery charges.”

While the shipping firms collect the above mentioned  charges, the terminal operators collect Shipping line Agency fee, Container clearing fee, Maritime Organisation of West and  Central Africa MOWCA) fee, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) protection levy and Deposit processing charge 5 per cen cent  percent of deposit