Controversies surrounding the Terminal Handling Charges (THC) have persisted as the recent upward review has sent a ripple of fear of increase in cost of doing business in the Port through port users.
The review came at a time when importers and their agents were earnestly awaiting removal of THC as recommended by a ministerial committee for the review of Port charges.
Port concessionaires, otherwise known as terminal port operators under the aegis of the Seaport Terminal Operators Assocation of Nigeria (STOAN), had announced an upward review of THC and storage charges after its February 19th 2010 meeting.
The increment, which became effective April 1st, became inevitable, according to STOAN, due to rising wages, inflation and other variable costs while THC increased to 25 per cent, progressive storage charge was reviewed from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. However, the ministerial committee set up by the former Minister of Transport, Ibrahim Isa Bio, had recommended the total cancellation of THC, which it said, was not provided in the concession agreement between the government and the terminal operators. But the transport ministry has not done anything about the committee’s recommendation.
According to the National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Lucky Amiwero, who was also a member of the ministerial committee, THC is duplicated as Terminal Delivery Charges, being collected by shipping companies.
He explained that the duplication of the collection by both terminal operators and shipping companies is in contravention of the committee’s recommendation and global best practices, which outlaw the collection of THC.
Kicking against STOAN’s upward review of THC, presidential candidate of the Association of Nigerian Licencsed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Olayiwola Shittu, said that the timing for the review of charges is wrong and ill-advised, adding that upward reviews would further increase the cost of doing business at the ports to the detriment of Nigerians.
But STOAN Vice Chairman, Captain Emma Omotayo, noted that the concessionaires had not reviewed their charges in over four years even though the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) lease fee has been reviewed annually.
According to him, the port concession agreement gives room to the concessionaires and the NPA to review rates and charges on an annual basis.
A source close to the concessionaires said that the concession agreement though remains a secret document, between government through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and terminal operators provided that the charges be reviewed yearly.
He faulted the criticism of licensed customs agents of the review, saying that the agents should fight the alleged duplication of THC with the shipping companies as it was the terminal operators that provides the equipment used in handling cargoes.
He wondered why the shipping companies would be charging for equipment, adding that NPA should also reduce what they are collecting from terminal operators as they are not contributing anything to the development of the ports, which have been concessioned.
NSE Begins Week On Negative Note, Loses N19.49bn
The Nigerian stock market began the week on a negative note as banking and consumer goods stocks, among others, triggered a N19.49bn loss.
At the end of trading on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Limited , the NGX All-Share Index dropped by 0.09 per cent to end at 43,270.94 basis points, while the market capitalisation declined to N22.58tn.
Market activities were mixed as the total volume of shares traded decreased by 30.19 per cent while the value traded rose by 34.05 per cent.
A total of 213.13 million shares valued at N2.36bn were exchanged in 4,105 deals, compared to 305.32 million shares worth N3.58bn in 4,450 deals last Friday.
FCMB Group Plc topped the traded stocks in terms of volume, accounting for 27.43 per cent of the total volume of trades while Airtel Africa Plc emerged as the most traded stock by value, representing 28.81 per cent of the total value of trades on the exchange.
14 firms gained compared to 21 losers.
AIICO Insurance Plc was the biggest gainer for the day, topping the gainers’ chart with a price appreciation of 8.57 per cent to N0.76 per share.
It was followed by LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc with a rise of 7.95 per cent, ending the day at N0.95 per share.
Analysing by sectors, three of the five major indices closed lower, led by NGX Oil & Gas (-0.56 per cent), NGX Consumer Goods (-0.23 per cent) and NGX Banking (0.18 per cent).
But the insurance (0.82 per cent) and industrial goods (0.002 per cent) indices gained at the end of trading.
… Introduces TIES To Boost Business Loan
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced the Tertiary Institutions Entrepreneurship Scheme (TIES), which provides undergraduates and graduates with a platform to access loans.
The TIES’ underlying aim is to provide access to capital for Nigerian undergraduates and graduates with innovative entrepreneurial and technological ideas from polytechnics and universities.
TIES intends to shift undergraduates and graduates away from white-collar job pursuits and towards a culture of entrepreneurship development for economic development and job creation.
In a national biennial entrepreneurship competition, the Developmental Component would be distributed in the form of awards to Nigerian polytechnics and universities.
The competition aims to increase undergraduates’ awareness and visibility of high-impact entrepreneurial/technological concepts, foster entrepreneurial talent hunts in Nigerian polytechnics and universities, and encourage commercially viable and transformative technologies.
Interested Nigerian polytechnics and universities shall apply to participate in the national biennial entrepreneurship competition on a dedicated online portal.
Outlining brief details of the project, potential impact and evidence of originality of project, CBN said it is an innovation for students entrepreneurs.
CITN Applauds FG, Tax Authorities On Fiscal Policy Decisions
The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN) has lauded the Federal Government and tax authorities on the giant strides made on fiscal policy decisions and tax administration measures initiated this year in the area of Finance Act 2021 and the introduction of TaxPromax solution.
President of the institute, Adesina Adedayo, who gave the commendation at the institute’s yearly award ceremony at the weekend in Lagos, assured the government and tax authorities of aligning with the measures and promised to provide professional thoughts and insights on ways through which they could achieve an efficient and effective Nigerian tax system.
Adedayo emphasised the need to address the database, adding that without knowing who the tax-payers are, there is no way they can take money from unknown tax-payers.
Database is the aspect we have been emphasising on as an institute and in doing this, there are so many of pockets of data we have. All the data must be harmonised to have a simple unique tax-payers identification number,” he said.
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