National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) has cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene over the high cost of doing business at the nation’s ports.
The association said that the cost of clearance is extremely high, duplicated and procedures are lengthy and cumbersome, which makes Nigerian ports the most expensive in the world. In a letter to Buhari, its President, Lucky Amiwero, said Ghana port and South Africa, for instance, collect $280 and $180 as terminal charges, while Nigerian port charges $457, saying that Ghana port and South Africa charge $285 and $208 on local transport from port to warehouse while Nigerian port charges $2, 050 for local transport from port to warehouse.
According to him, there is an urgent need to constitute a professional committee to address the deficiency and extremely high cost, which makes Nigerian port inconsistent, unpredictable and lack of transparency, which is a key component on trade facilitation.
He hinted that a lot of problems are contributing to the high cost of doing business in the nation’s maritime sector, which makes the Nigerian port non-preferred port in the sub-region. He said some of the factors, which need to be tackled or solved with immediately include gridlock on the port access roads, delay in scanning and physical examination, duplicated charges and charges not tied to services and cargo dwell time/cumbersome and lengthy port procedures. Other factors are block stacking of containers, no holding bay and trailers, unethical conduct of shipping companies and terminal operators, infrastructure problem, plant and equipment and Customs procedure and associated delays, all the problems mentioned must be tackled in order to make Nigerian ports efficient.
Speaking on the difference between Nigeria and Ghana port charges and free days, he added, “Ghana has one handling charge for either direct or indirect without any other charges, which is regulated by the Ghana Shippers Authority. Ghana storage/rent has seven days free period, followed by seven days first Period, another seven days second period and the third period. “While Nigeria charges are duplicated with Terminal Handling Charges (THC), Terminal Delivery Charges (TDC), Customs Examination/scanning. The storage/rent charges in Nigeria has three days free first period five days, second period five days and the third period much more higher than that of Ghana and not controlled by government.”