Importers and other operators in the Nigerian ports have threatened to stop activities in the nationsports and relocate to neighbouring countries due to high fee charged by the Nigerian Shipping Council.
The aggrieved importers under the auspices of Importers Association of Nigeria (IMAN) made this known in a statement signed by its Chief Operations Officer, Prosper Okolo, recently.
Recall that the Council had announced a downward review of the fees after the fee generated problems from stakeholders’ and watchers of the industry across board.
The association insisted that the port economic regulator should suspend any form of additional fee in the cargo clearance procedures from the ports.
IMAN further called on the Council to address issues confronting stakeholders in the ports and avoid any form of additional cost of doing business in the industry.
The Chief Operations Officer of the group, Prosper Okolo, stressed that importers may be forced to stop cargo importation through Nigerian ports.
According to Okolo, “If every agencies of government are collecting levy from the port, the shippers will no longer import cargoes into the country.
He noted that top officials of the association have engaged the Central Bank of Nigeria over the arbitrary charges on importers by government agencies and the shipping lines operating in the country.
The Chief Operations Officer called for an urgent meeting between the Council and shippers for further clarification, even as he lamented that the introduction of the fee would further add to the cost of cargo clearance from the ports.
A breakdown of to the proposed fee released by NSC showed that shipping line agencies and terminal operators will now be paying N50,000 per annum down from the initial N100,000 ; while inland container depot/dry port operators will now be paying N25,000 instead of N50,000.
Off dock terminal operators, cargo consolidators and shipping agency (non-vessel operating agency) are to pay N10,000 against the current N20,while stevedoring companies, cargo surveyors and shippers will now pay N5,000 instead of the N10,000 initially imposed by the NSC at the beginning of this year.