The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents has asked the Nigeria Customs Service to reverse the ban on evacuation of containers from Lagos ports by barges, describing the ban as “a wicked policy.”
ANLCA national president, Tony Nwabunike, stated that the country’s largest association of customs licensed agents would protest the decision.
Comptroller-general of NCS, Hameed Ali, had last week issued a directive to stop the use of barges to evacuate cargoes from the seaports with immediate effect.
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.
Nwabunike said that a high-powered team from the association would visit the coordinator of Zone A of the NCS to register its displeasure over “this wicked policy.”
He added that his group would do everything possible to see to friendly trade policies that would attract investors to Nigerian ports.
“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 efforts of other government agencies like the Nigerian Ports Authority and National Inland Waterways Authority in finding lasting solution to easy movement of goods through the waterways.
“We in ANLCA are strongly opposed to this position and call on the Customs boss to address the matter through consultations and dialogue with all stakeholders in the industry.
“To address the situation, we suggest that the CG should visit Lagos ports to see things for himself; hold a critical stakeholders meeting; and hold talks with the heads of NPA, NSC and NIWA on how to manage the situation,” Nwabunike stated.
He added that ANLCA would dispatch a letter to the Customs CG to seek the reversal of the policy.