By Godfrey Bivbere & Chigoziri Onuoha
AT a time when stakeholders are complaining about the high cost of clearing goods at the nation’s sea ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, yesterday, further increased the costs by introducing a N70,000 royalty dues to be collected on its behalf by shipping companies.
Information from an invoice issued to an importer (name withheld) showed that a shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (Nigeria) Ltd, collected N70,000 from the consignee as “Nigeria Port Service” charges for a 40-feet container of electronics imported from China.
The invoice with number IM00084451, gave the bill of lading number as well as the containers number as MOLU 11044005466 and TCNU 9295633 respectively. Other charges in the invoice include shipping line agency charge, stamp duty charge and container clearing at N45,000, N50 and N4,000 respectively. Confirming this in Lagos, Deputy National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Uchu Block, told Vanguard that the shipping lines commenced the collection of the new charges since the beginning of this year.
Block said,“They said that the due is called royalty to NPA because they are not collecting it directly, the shipping companies collect on their behalf. It is not approved. It is still part of the regulation stuff. When the news came I sent it to our President, Lucky Amiwero, who was in Abuja then. He wrote a letter to the government and nobody listened. Yes, he also wrote to the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and what are they even saying. The ones NSC stopped, the shipping lines are still collecting it. The matter is dying a natural death, because NSC has no power and they cannot enforce anything. So, I don’t know who will help this nation.”
Efforts to speak with the acting head of Public Affairs of NPA, Ibrahim Nasiru, were unsuccessful as he did not pick the several calls to him.