Following the inability of the terminal operator at the Lillypond terminal to meet up with the increasing demand of workload at the terminal, the Association on of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Lillypond Chapter has voiced out its displeasure over the development.
The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Chuks Anselm Njemanze who made this known while speaking to newsmen at the terminal in Lagos disclosed that importers now pay unnecessary demurrage owing to increasing delays caused by the terminal operation who cannot meet up with volume of cargo at the terminal.
Njemanze pointed out that the terminal operator was overwhelmed by the workload at the terminal because they lack the infrastructure and manpower to be able to contend with the effect of the rising work-load.
According to him “right now, we undertake a lot of demurrage that are unnecessary and as it is, the terminal operators are overwhelmed with the workload. They are not prepared because there is no infrastructure, no manpower to cushion the effect of the rising workload”.
“As I talk with you now, we have so many workload here and the terminal has not shown any sign of seriousness. We have been batting with them, it takes five days to drop containers for examination and the most annoying part of it is that when they are unable to drop these containers for examination, they will expect us to pay demurrage”.
He traced the cause of the problem to the time they intended to withdraw their services from the terminal last year which they suddenly reversed leading to their unpreparedness to meet up with the current realities facing them.
Njemanze who is also the Chairman of the Initiative alleged that some people had applied for examination since the 16th January and up till date, these containers had not been dropped wondering the effect this action would have on importers who have more than one container to clear from the terminal saying it was a deliberate act to extort Nigerians of their hard earned money.
He dame the regulatory bodies and government agencies who failed to regulate and carry out over sight function on the activities of these concessionaire thus compounding the problems of Nigerians.
He contended that where they try to carry out such oversight function, they do it leaving the critical stakeholders who are at the receiving end and would report to them as it is and choose to listen to listen to the terminal operators who supply them with doctored information thereby deceiving them into believing that all was well.
Speaking on the success or otherwise of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) Mr. Njemanze saluted the effort the Nigerian Customs Service for coming up with the provisional release to help cushion the effect of the unprocessed Risk Assessment Report (RAR) handed over to them by erstwhile service providers.
He expressed his appreciation to the Customs Area Controller of Lilly pond Command Talatu Isa whom he said had effectively managed the situation in such a way that several hiccups witnessed in other commands with regards to provisional release was not witnessed in the command deserving the command as the smoothest in handily the up processed RAR.
In a related development, the chairman, Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Lilly pond Chapter, Mr. Chuks Aselm Njemanze has called on the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo – Iweala to set up a monitoring team to ensure that all the government agencies sent out of the seaports by the minister did not stage a comeback on their own.
Njemanze made this appeal on the heel of the return of some sacked government agencies to the ports especially as it relates to Lilly pond terminal.
He argued that making an order sacking the concerned agencies out of the nation’s seaport would only be a mirage if the order was not backed up by a monitoring team to ensure compliance.
According to him, sometime ago, the Minister of Finance made an announcement saying that some government agencies should leave the ports in order to make transactions easier and cheaper but there is no supervising agency to see that this directive is carried out. As I talk with you, most of them are drifting back forcefully, creating unnecessary bottlenecks”.
“Quarantine Service is everyday batting with us. It is an issue; the quarantine service now said that here is now their command, that are going to be domiciled here”.
He recalled that it was in furtherance of the ministerial directives and towards making clearance at the ports easier that the Nigeria Customs Service came up with the National Single Window, which allows every government agencies and the trading community to interact and only to intervene when necessary urging them to make use of such platform instead of coming to domicile at the port and obstruct quick facilitation of trade.