The Chairman, Association of Registered Freight Forwarders Nigeria, AREFFN, Tincan Island Port chapter, Chief Chiedu Ukachukwu has hailed the administrative style of the recently posted Customs Area Controller of the Tincan Island Port Command of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Comptroller Dera Nnadi, describing it as novel and people oriented.
Ukachukwu who stated this in an interview with Primetime Reporters in Lagos observed that Comptroller Nnadi had taken some drastic measures towards winning back the trust of the importers and their agents who had hitherto abandoned TICT for other terminals as their preferred import destination.
He recalled that importers and their agents, before now were having a big challenge at Tincan Island Container Terminal, TICT noting that their modus operandi was no longer acceptable to them. He pointed out that it took two to three days for one to book for container examination at TICT after which the containers won’t be dropped causing unnecessary delays for freight forwarders in order for them to pay additional demurrage thereby extorting money from them.
The AREFFN Chairman equally accused the management of TICT of charging agents fifty six thousand naira (N56,000) aside the handling charge just to drop off containers for examination adding that even when the amount was paid, it would take the terminal two to three weeks to drop the container(s) for examination, extorting them along the line in the name of demurrage.
“That three weeks, they are making money, additional demurrage. For that three weeks, you pay them demurrage and they will charge you for their services for that scanning as well and these are deliberate act to extort money from agents.
“And so, we the five men associations are going to come together and say no to all these extortions and we are liaising with the new Controller, Comptroller Nnadi and he has been there to give us support to make sure they put an end to this.
“We have had a meeting with the new Controller, Comptroller Nnadi where he promised to look into it and I believe he have waded into the matter. So, we feel there will be an improvement as regards to that” he said.
On why importers and their agents now avoid Tincan Island Port which used to be their preferred choice for imports in the past few years, he said, “During the last customs administration at Tincan led by Comptroller Kunle, some hard policies that were put in place made some agents move out of Tincan to other ports that will be favourable to them. At times, I advise most of my friends to use another port when Tincan port is no longer business friendly, likewise other agents.
“But I must give it to the new Controller, Comptroller Nnadi who summoned all the stakeholders and urged everyone to come back to Tincan promising that he will make Tincan to bubble again. He gave us his words and he meant it. He has taken one or two steps to bring in one or two policy changes and I have even brought in one or two bigwigs in the industry, even most of my clients that have ran to Apapa, I have started luring them back to Tincan, likewise every other person. I believe between now and December, Tincan will start booming.”
Asked what inspired decision by agents to return to Tincan for their importation, the Chairman said, “What inspired it is that his (Nnadi’s) agenda are very acceptable. He gave us what his roadmap for Tincan, it is not as if we are shortchanging government but now in Tincan, within two to three day, you take your consignment. Initially, it was not so. Now, even if DN (Demand Notice) is to be raised on your job, he will allow you to carry your container and deliver, after which you come back and pay the DN. That is trade facilitation.
“If you have homogeneous goods of about fifty containers, customs will examine like five or six of them and use their discretion to release the rest and you take your containers. But before, it was not so, they must examine those fifty containers. With this new administration, I believe Tincan will bubble.”
On the directive issued recently by the Controller that all sectional heads must resume on their seat at 9am daily, Chief Ukachukwu confirmed that it has taken effect as the command now resume cargo examination by 9am each day.
His words, “It is very practicable now, even, he is a leader by example, before 8am, he is on ground and must move to all the sections to make sure that their heads are on ground as well and he must ensure that examination commences at 9 O’clock in Tincan now. And he is the last officer to go, he is the first officer to come and the last to go. That will show you a sign of seriousness.”
Photo: Comptroller Dera Nnadi, Customs Area Controller, Tincan Island Port Command.
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