Thursday, November 30, 2017

Customs and Terminal Operators Frustrating The Ease of Doing Business Initiative

One of the Participant at the stakeholder meeting of the port operation, with respect to Ease of Doing Business Initiative of the Federal Government have raised some concerns over how Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) and terminal operators are frustrating this great initiative of the government. 

He alleged that the NCS after disputing their own Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), they raise a Debit Note (DN) with penalty of 25% of the debit note sum on the importer, which put a lot of financial burden on the importer. He requested that NCS should clarify this issue and also plead with the committee on the Ease of Doing Business to come to their rescue at the Apapa Port. It was also allege that it takes the NCS about 3-5 working days to raise a DN and will like to know the reason for this delay. 

He went ahead to complain that the terminal operators do not refund the un-utilized days paid upfront for storage charge. For instance, importer pay the terminal operation a storage charge for 7 days and get the goods cleared and moved out of the terminal in 4 days, the remaining un-utilized 3 days is never refunded. This he regards as extortion and should be stopped.

He also went ahead to state that terminal operators charge importers for all the days they were unable to position container for NCS examination. This again is another strategic extortion because the importer is paying for the inefficiencies of the terminal operator, he said. 

He finally stated that goods released by NCS and cleared from the port facing multiple blocks and check points in transit to importer's storage especially between Port Harcourt and Aba, Port Harcourt to Onitsha and Port Harcourt to Warri. All these are a gamut of issues that totally negate the spirit of Ease of Doing Business of the government and stakeholders are requesting that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment  Committee (PEBEC), should look into this in order the make port operations change for the better for both importers and exporters in Nigeria.

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