Following the pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari that seaports in Lagos continue operation in accordance with the guidelines issued earlier, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NCS), has prevailed on commercial banks in Apapa to remain operational to allow freight forwarders conduct assessment and payment of duty for Customs purposes.
Speaking during a visit to Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian NSC, Hassan Bello said Shippers Council has been in talk with some commercial banks to open their branches for operations in the ports as part of efforts to keep the economy of the nation’s moving amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, two of the banks opened branches in Apapa to transact the business of assessment of duty and payment of duty, while NCS is talking with other banks to do the same.
However, Bello called on all importers and their agents to take the advantage of lockdown to take delivery of their consignments, adding that currently, there are port terminals that are 95 per cent filled up.
He said the nation’s seaports must be operational for the exit of cargoes especially raw materials and relief materials, saying that cargo should not be subjected to interstate restrictions. While visiting the ENL and Port and Terminal Multiservrvices Limited (PTML), Bello said the Council has provided buses for port workers to access the ports, adding that despite the lockdown, cargoes should be allow to reach their destinations across the country. He added: “I’m always scared about the congestion on both sides and that will happen if cargo is not taken out of the port. We have terminals with 95 per cent occupancy rate. We are doing the same thing at Port Harcourt where people are not allowed to convey their goods from the port.