Approximately 5,000 imported used cars are stuck at Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited and Five Star Logistics Terminal, both at the TinCan Island Port, as overtime cargoes, according to clearing agents working in the maritime sector. The House of Representatives Committee on Customs and Excise received a letter from Saliu Sikiru, the Youth Leader of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents.
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Sikiru requested the committee change the 28day rule for cargoes and vehicles that are held over in the letter The National Assembly was urged by Sikiru, who is also the ANLCA coordinator for the Five Star Logistics Terminal, to increase the time from 28 to 90 days.
He claimed that the importers were having a lot of issues as a result of the 28-day ban on imported vehicles and cargo.
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The letter stated, “In view of the above mentioned, we urge the above authority to take a review on the 28 days placed on vehicles and cargoes as this is causing a lot of havoc to the importers. A lot of vehicles, both containerised and roll-on-roll-off, and cargoes are trapped in various terminals across the port based on the harsh policies of the government. We appeal to the Federal Government to extend the days; 90 days are never a bad idea, because the 28 days have caused a lot of difficulties as a result of increments in Customs duty and to run the documents of overtime cargoes sometimes takes two months for processing and cost more.
“However, we have more than 3,000 overtime vehicles and cargoes in Five Star Logistics Terminal and above 2,000 in PTML terminal, which are caused by this harsh policy and operating system causing a lot of congestion, but they have failed to take them to the designated terminal for overtime cargoes for more than three years now.”
Sikiru called for an urgent action to be taken so that the issues would not affect growth and revenue generation for the government.
“Another major concern is that those cargoes that have paid Customs duty, released and exited from the Customs but are still in the terminal for one reason or the another will also go through the process of overtime clearance and we know how much that costs. We call on the various authorities, including the House of Representatives and Senate committees on Customs and Excise to look into this as a matter of urgency as this is not helping in generating revenue for the government,”he added.
Speaking on why some consignments were still at the terminals even after they had been permitted to exit, another freight forwarder, Mr Alabi Bukola, said, “Some of the cargoes might have errors during capturing, which might take a longer time to correct due to bureaucracy. Also, there was a time that we did have bank issues; we paid and the payment would not drop; we had to go through some procedures before getting to Customs.
“So, because of all these issues, many cargoes would have stayed beyond the stipulated 28 days of clearance. We want to use this medium to appeal to the government to change the 28 days policy to at least 90 days.”
Reacting to this, General Manager, PTML, Mr Tunde Keshinro, admitted that there were overtime cargoes, but added that 60 per cent of the terminal’s vehicle capacity was still unutilised.
He, however, admitted that trade declined at the terminal last year due to some policies of the government.
An attempt to get a response from Five Star Logistics Terminal was not fruitful as the Head, Customer Care of the terminal, Mr Chuks Okereafor, said he did not have the capacity to speak on the issue.
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