Indications have emerged showing that sharp practices surrounding waivers are currently compelling importers to abandon goods in ports, a scenario capable of hobbling business activities in the ports.
The act is sequel to undermining of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA Act as amended) by terminal operators who are driving the abandonment of cargoes at the ports by over burdening importers with hostile charges.
Besides, the rising cases of demurrage have continued to be an intractable headache on the side of importers at the ports.
Investigations showed that many of the sharp practices stemmed from how terminal operators are manhandling importers as they are dragged into passing through unprintable processes which will encourage them to take to false declaration in order to cut expenses.
Currently, about 65 per cent of goods that ordinarily should have been imported to Nigeria directly now find their way to Nigeria but through neighbouring ports where port services are seamless after all.
Already, the President of National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), and Managing Director, Eyis Resources, Chief Lucky Amiwero, has petitioned the Presidency on the need to ensure compliance with the statutory requirement for waiver of rent and demurrage as a result of delay on imported goods that are subject to Dispute Resolution (DR) and investigation activities in line with the ease of doing business.
Relying on the express provisions under Section 152 Customs and Excise Management Act, which covers goods associated with delay that is undergoing dispute resolution as regards valuation, classification, rule of origin, intellectual property right, and investigation activities among others, he has called for an immediate change of attitude so as to save Nigerian ports from losing more businesses.
According to key paragraphs of his petition sighted by our correspondent, “When any goods are deposited in Customs areas (Terminals) or in a Government warehouse under or by virtue of any provision of this Act, and the Board is of the opinion that having regards to all the circumstances of the case, no rent or reduced rent shall be charged therefore. It may waive or reduce any rent payable or refund the whole or any part of any rent paid under this Act.”
“The legal and global process on goods subjected to dispute resolution mechanism and investigative process are granted relief or waiver by removing the cost of associated delays.
“We hereby appeal to the government to implement the provision of Section 152 by the waiver of rent and demurrage associated with delays in dispute resolution and the investigating activities of the Customs and any government agency, involved in the inspection of imported goods, so as to reduce the abandonment of goods by importers after the completion of dispute resolution and investigative activities.”
Chief Lucky Amiwero, a maritime consultant of note has been in the industry for more than three decades and within the period has served on over 176 Committees in the sector. Nine of the Committees, according to him are presidential.