By Samson Echenim
Nigerian importers have been slammed with demurrage charges during the two-day holiday to mark Eid-el-Kabir.
The Nigerian government had declared August 12 and 13 as public holiday to mark Eid-el-Kabir, but customs clearing agents have raised the alarm that at the resumption of business activities on Wednesday at the Lagos ports, they were met with huge demurrage charges levied on them by port operators.
Tony Nwabunike, national president of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) confirmed the arbitrary charges by the seaport operators, lamenting that his table had been filled with letters of complaints from importers’ agents.
business a.m. also gathered that shipping lines and port terminal operators charge for demurrage on weekends even though they are not available for services during such days.
“So many letters came to my table this morning on this issue of terminal operators and shipping companies charging on public holidays and weekends, I think it all needs to stop,” Nwabunike said.
He accused the terminal operators and the shipping lines of frustrating Nigeria’s ease of doing business policy, alleging that the 24-hour port operations initiated by the federal government and the Nigeria Customs Service has remained a mirage, as the port managers are never available for round-the-clock operation.
“Terminal operators must stop charging for demurrage on public holidays and weekend because they are not rendering services on those days.We are putting a serious letter across to their heads of departments and units because it is a very serious issue we have to tackle, otherwise, we would go to the appropriate power quarters to address it,” he said.
Nwabunike however said that the association is already engaging the terminal operators and shipping companies on how to resolve the matter.