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Amiwero writes NPA on challenges of licensed Customs agents

THE URGENT NEED OF GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION TO ADDRESS THE LICENSED CUSTOMS AGENTS AND PORT USERS CONCERN IN THE CLEARANCE OF GOODS FROM THE PORT WITH COVIT 19 PANDEMIC

We hereby bring to the notice of the Federal Government on the need to address the concern of the Licensed Customs Agents and other Port users in the clearance of goods from the Port, which are:

THE ACCESS OF THE LICENSED CUSTOMS AGENT TO THE PORTS AND BONDED WAREHOUSES

THE CLOSURE OF THE BANKS OPERATION THAT IS KEY TO AGENTS TRANSACTION

THE ACCESS TO SHIPPING COMPANIES

THE ACCESS TO NAFDAC, SON AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

THE ACCESS TO TRANSPIRATION TO MOVE GOODS FROM THE PORT

THE CONTINUED CHARGES OF SHIPPING COMPANIES WITHOUT ANY CONCESSION

THE ACCESS OF LICENSED CUSTOMS AGENTS TO THE PORT AND BONDED WAREHOUSE

The Licensed Customs Agents are only the people authorized by law to  pay for import duty on behalf of importer under section 154 and licensed to  handle all transaction relating the import, export,  and excise under section 153 of the Customs and Excise Management Act C 45 of 2004.

Furthermore is only the people allow to be in the Port, with other government  agency to Conduct the profession of Licensed customs agency under Port related( offence) Act 61 of 1999 Section 1-(a) &1(b).

There are the only people who are authorized to interface with Customs, Terminal operators, Bonded Warehouse, Banks, NAFDAC, SON, CIU, FOU, Strike force, transporters, etc in their daily function, in the clearance of goods from the ports, other Terminals and Bonded warehouses.

They are scatted and live in the hinterland and villages around Okokomiko, Shibiri, ikorodu, Alambe, Akute,  Badagry, Agbara, Sagamu, etc,  where house is the cheapest, and will find it difficult to access the Port from their various homes, which has been extremely  difficult as could be notice in  day 1 of the lock down.

THE CLOSURE OF THE BANKS OPERATION THAT IS THE KEY TO AGENTS TRANSACTION

The Clearance start with the banks, on the opening of form ‘m’ , opening letter of credit(LC)  Documentation,  Payment of Import duty and other charges, Payment of Terminal Charges, Shipping company Charges, NAFDAC charges, SON Charges  Transporters Charges, Bonded warehouse Charges, warehouse charges etc.

The Bank cannot be accessed as it remains closed, all the above transaction is affected by the opening, which means nothing without the Bank, as all transaction in the clearance of goods is link to the Bank, which make the opening of the Port non effective

THE ACCESS TO THE SHIPPING COMPANY

The shipping company are the conveyer of the goods from Port of Loading to Lagos Port, who are agent to the carrier or the carrier themselves, which is covered under the contract of carriage of goods by sea.

They are scatted all over Lagos and are key to the clearance of goods.

If goods are not release from the shipping companies and if they are not available for release goods could not be released from the Port, which has affect the Clearance of goods in day 1

ACCESS TO NAFDAC, SON AND OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

All most all goods in the Port are subjected to NAFDAC,SON and other agencies on regulated products, which payment and other process, which must be consented by NAFDAC, SON and other Government agencies before cargo is released

Most of  these government agencies are not around the Ports, but miles apart from the Port, which requires the agent to access them that has affected the movement in day 1 due to the restriction and access to most the process site of these agencies

ACCESS  OF TRANSPORTATION TO MOVE GOODS OUT OF THE PORT

Most transporter only collect cash, and for such huge amount the Bank most be involved for the transfers, so the activities of the Transporter can only function when there is Bank and normal bank activities due to various transfers, which has been hampered in day 1

THE CONTINUED CHARGES OF THE SHIPPING COMPANY AND THE CONCESSION OBTAIN BY NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY ON TERMINAL CHARGES

There is the need for a total suspension of all demurrage and rent in the Port from the Terminal and Shipping company from the date Lagos State stated the partial lock down, which affect many agents.

We once commend NPA for their role in the relief of storage charges from the 23 of march,

For 21 days, we hope that it will be extended to the shipping

We are most concerned to professionally identify areas that affect the opening of Port in this time of the COVID 19 pandemics, and request for proper consultation to address the above issues

Thanks

Yours faithfully

LUCKY EYIS AMIWERO

NATIONAL PRESIDENT

CC: PRESIDENT COMMANDER –IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES

CC: VICE- PRESIDENT

CC: PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

CC: SPEAKER

CC: SECRETARY OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA

CC: HONORABLE MINISTER OF FINANCE

CC: HONORABLE MINSTER OF TRANSPORT

CC: NIGERIA PORTS AUTHORITY

CC: NIGERIA SHIPPERS COUNCIL