Towards tackling the numerous challenges in import/export trade and stall revenue loss by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), an indigenous firm, International Trade Advisory Limited (ITASL), has flagged off its services at the nation’s ports.
According to the company, the initiative is intended to provide world class advisory services for importers, exporters, manufacturers and multinationals on Customs processes and procedures with a view to reducing delays in cargo clearance at the ports.
Speaking at a press briefing to announce the initiative in Lagos recently, the Principal Consultant and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Okey Ibeke, said importers often incur avoidable expenses due to inadequate knowledge on trade laws, and sometimes ignorant of the losses transferred to consumers through high prices of goods at the end of the day.
Consequently, he said, “one of the primary goals of the firm is to provide assistance in interpretation of laws/regulations, product descriptions, harmonized tariff codes, valuation, rules of origin, and post clearance audit for the resolution of all import/export compliance and regulatory issues”.
Noting that compliance level is still very low at the nation’s ports, Ibeke urged importers to avoid trade malpractices such as under declaration, under valuation, wrong classification and other related infractions, which, he said, are responsible for delay in cargo clearance at the ports.
“Sometimes some importers willfully refuse to comply with the laid down rules and regulations while others do it out of ignorance. So, what we do is to advise multinationals and corporate organizations on Customs processes and procedures.
“We advise them on how to classify the goods they are importing so that when the goods land, they won’t have problems with the Customs.
“When they have issues, the Customs will detain their goods pending the resolution of the matter and they will incur demurrages resulting in additional cost, for which the consumers bear the brunt. So, what we do is to provide advisory services.
“We develop procedures, training modules and assessment programs to identify compliance defects, develop solutions and coordinate improvement implementation.
“We provide professional resources and broad skill sets for clients such as technical specialists, licensed customs brokers, logistics experts, project managers, accountants, lawyers, freight forwarders, and auditors.
“We employ appropriate procedures to determine the proper harmonized tariff classification on imports or exports, control classification on exports and provide a complete audit trail to support our client’s classification claim. In addition, our experts can research rulings or assist in obtaining a ruling.
“Customs authorities are increasing their focus on compliance verification audits, and valuation is a key area they usually look at. Given the various methodologies, determining the value for duty of goods can be incredibly complex. Commissions, assists, royalties or related party transactions need to be considered, and getting it wrong can result in repayment of higher duties and financial penalties.
“International Trade Advisory Services Limited, therefore, helps a client to ensure the correct valuation method, the right pricing relationship with related and non-related vendors, and correct payment of duties,” he said.
MWUN Hails Terminal Operators Over CBA Implementation
Following the clampdown of APM Terminal by Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) over poor remuneration, the Union has commended terminal operators for implementing the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it signed with the union last year.
The agreement was signed between the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) and MWUN to improve the welfare of dockworkers and ensure sustained industrial harmony.
President of MWUN, AdewaleAdeyanju, said the implementation of the CBA has been encouraging following substantial compliance by terminal operators.
“The implementation of the NJIC agreement so far has been encouraging. I can say we have gotten 80 percent implementation.
“The Dockworkers know their do’s and don’ts on the NJIC and the areas we are having challenges is being handled internally in conjunction with the stakeholders.
“If the workers are not well paid, you would see it in their faces and with the NJIC that came into place, I don’t think we have any problem,” he said.
Adeyanju also decried the worsening Apapa gridlock, stressing that a permanent solution to the gridlock would be the establishment of holding bay facilities for trucks.
“The Presidential Task team cannot do beyond what they are doing on the gridlock. We should rather blame the shipping companies that are moving their empty containers into the terminal.
“If you don’t have anything doing in the port, why are you bringing your empty containers to litter the roads? They are using our roads as garage where they park and stack containers.
“So, we should apportion the blame to some of the shipping companies too, because their empty containers should be stacked somewhere else, not inside the port.
“The issue of holding bays should be discussed by the Federal Government and with the terminal operators. I know there are efficient terminal operators who know their onions,” he stated.
Noting that the issues that led to the MWUN strike have been resolved, Adeyanju said APM Terminals Apapa and the union have resolved issues on the CBA. He urged workers to resume operational activities at the terminal immediately.
Recall that MWUN embarked on a two days warning strike over poor remuneration by APM terminals on Nigerian Dockworkers at itApapa facilities.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Eight Ships With AGO, PMS, Others Expected At Eastern Ports, Today
Eight Sea going vessels laden with AGO, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), and other cargos are expected to berth at different terminals today at Eastern Ports to discharge cargoes.
The manifest of the ships and cargoes was contained in the Weekly Shipping Position Magazine published by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt.
The Authority said the ships are expected to arrive at Rivers Port Complex, and Calabar Port with the Commodities.
According to the publication, the ships are laden with AGO, PMS, Bulk Wheat and Steel Pipes.
It gave the names of the Vessels for Rivers Port Complex as Grand Dionysus, MT Creamiera, Matrix Ilu and Kowe.
Other ships due for the Ports includes, Keonamex Victory, Kmarin Melbourne, MT. Picton and Rising Sun.
Names of he shipping agents contained in the manifest are Alraine, Amco, Peak Shipping and Tera Shipping Limited.
Others are Allison Shipping, Tiger Shipping Company, and Katrim Shipping.
NPA noted that the arrival of the vessels and cargos would make AGO, PMS, Steel pipes and others available to the end users and improve trade and commerce in the region and beyond.
Pirates Cart Away N.1m Loot From Traders
A five-man gang of suspected sea pirates attacked traders and fishermen along Akwakpa, Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and carted away over N.1 million from them.
The pirates, who shot sporadically to scare away intruders, also beat up the traders during their mission.
Narrating her ordeal, Mrs Victoria Pius, one of the victims, said the pirates collected about one million naira from her. She said the money was part of a loan.
“They shot in the air severally, beat us mercilessly before collecting our things,” she said.
The stranded woman said the pirates also kidnapped some of the traders on the boat.
Victoria also said the pirates disguised themselves as fishermen to carry out their nefarious activities on unsuspecting traders.
She appealed to the State Police Command to assist and check the incessant attacks on fishermen, traders and women along the waterways.
Earlier, Police in the State said it had rescued 28 fishermen kidnapped by a five man gang in the State.
Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi, said the fishermen were rescued through intelligence gathering.
According to him, as soon as he got the report, he drafted marine officers who were able to rescue the victims at the creeks where the gang held them hostage for over eight hours.
“The 28 men and women you see here are the people rescued by the marine police officers.
“They (pirates) seized the boat of the victims and put them where they will not come out.
“These men of the underworld will pretend to be fishermen. We’ve actually caught five of them before and put them in detention. The long arm of the law will soon catch up with all of them.
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