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Freight forwarders call for cancellation of 7 % port devt sur-charge

Friday, 24 February 2012 | 00:00
The National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has petitioned the Federal Government over the continuous payment of the 7percent sur-charge by importers and agents meant for port development.
In a letter to the President Good Luck Jonathan, the group’s President Mr. Lucky Amiwero said that since the sur-charge is not tied to any service, it should be so as to eae the port from excessive charges that discourages investment.
Amiwero stated that imposition and collection of the port development levy started inn 1978 as a result of the cement Amanda crisis which subsequently led to the amortization of funds for the construction of new ports, which have since been completed.
The group’s president however blamed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council who has been instrumental to the increase in storage charges, an action that is at variance with function of protecting the shipper.
He noted that some of the charges and levies paid to terminal operators and shipping companies are also not tied to any known service rendered by them.
In the petition titled ‘the unfinished port reforms process in Nigeria’ the seasoned freight forwarder it is only Nigeria that there are no laws or authorities regulating the activities of both the terminal operators and shipping companies and fixing their charges, a development he says has economic implication.
“Where development of the ports is carried out by concessionaires, the 7% sur-charge that is tied to any service must be cancelled so as to ease the port from excessive charges that discourages investment and encourage diversion of cargo to other West African ports.
He suggested the need to have a transparent legal regime that will clearly spell out the responsibility to both user and providers of shipping services
His words “There is need to have a clear unambiguous and transparent legal regime that will clearly spell out and allocate responsibility to every body involved in the shipping business.
“An urgent need to have an economic/commercial regulator that will monitor the competitiveness, tariff dispute resolution as a result of port operational activities.
Establish an agency that is legally suited for monitoring the compliance of infrastructural provision like plants and other equipment in line with the concession agreement
Source: Vanguard
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