The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the country’s largest association of customs licensed agents, has described the ban on evacuation of containers by barges from the Lagos ports as “a wicked policy,” hinting that it would protest against the decision by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Evacuation of containers by barges at the Apapa and Tin Can ports brought relief to the congested ports, but the Customs said shippers were evading payment of tariffs through the process.
Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, Tuesday last week, issued a directive to stop the use of barges to evacuate cargoes from the seaports with immediate effect.
Iju Tony Nwabunike, national president of ANLCA has said that a high powered team from the association would visit the Zonal Coordinator Zone A of the NCS to register its protest and displeasure over “this wicked policy.”
The National President of ANLCA, Chief Iju Tony Nwabunike said his group would “do everything possible to see to friendly trade policies that will attract investors to our ports,” adding that ANLCA would write to the Customs headquarters to seek the reversal of “this trade-frustrating policy.”
“It is hard to believe that the Customs CG who is known to preach trade facilitation and ease of doing business, is the one taking hasty decisions that would not only aggravate the current suffering of stakeholders, but also impede on efforts of other government agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) among others, in finding a lasting solution to easy movement of goods through the waterways,” Nwabunike noted in a statement.
He said, “We in the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) are strongly opposed to this position and called on the Customs boss to address the matter through consultations and dialogue with all stakeholders in the industry.
“We in ANLCA, however suggests the following steps to be taken by the Customs CG to address the situation: that the Customs CG should visit Lagos ports to see things for himself; that the Customs CG should hold a critical stakeholders meeting to address the issue and that the Customs CG should hold talks with the heads of NPA, NSC and NIWA on how to manage the situation.”
The ANLCA boss said the association would set up a high-powered team to visit the Zonal Coordinator of Zone, ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service to register its “protest and displeasure on this wicked policy.”
“Also, the ANLCA leadership will dispatch a letter to the Customs CG latest by tomorrow (today) to seek the reversal of this trade frustrating policy. We want to also assure the Customs leadership that ANLCA as a group of Customs Brokers will do everything possible to see to friendly trade policies that will attract investors to our ports,” Nwabunike stated.