Posted by From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation on
A DESPERATE battle to crack the congestion at the ports is on. Finance Minister Dr Muhtar Ahmed and Transport Minister Alhaji Bio Issa Ibrahim met at the weekend for hours on the matter.
A DESPERATE battle to crack the congestion at the ports is on.
Finance Minister Dr Muhtar Ahmed and Transport Minister Alhaji Bio Issa Ibrahim met at the weekend for hours on the matter.
They discussed emergency measures to solve the problem, which is threatening manufacturing and other sectors of the economy.
It was also learnt that the government is contemplating a two-week ultimatum to importers to clear their goods or have them auctioned by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
The meeting of ministers was informed by "the mere standstill" of clearance of goods by some importers.
The Federal Government is said to be disturbed that goods which require urgent off-loading have been left at the ports for months, with the owners incurring demurrage.
A source who spoke in confidence with The Nation said: "The Minister of Transport has asked for a comprehensive report on congestion at the ports from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
"A preliminary report submitted by the NPA indicates that most of the goods that account for the congestion were un-declared.
"So, the Customs Service is overstretched to inspect the contents of all containers, thereby slowing down the clearing process.
"The Customs is also insisting that importers who under-declared their goods will have full revenue before such will be released."
The source added that the two ministers would meet with shippers, importers and other stakeholders at the Lagos Sheraton tomorrow.
"The meeting is to ensure dialogue with the stakeholders on circular 26/2008 of the Nigerian Customs Service.
"The circular says that any person that does not properly declare his goods within
required period and if within two weeks of grace, he does not regularise his payment, the goods will be outrightly seized by the government.
"The circular also says that all shipping companies are to make available all manifests of their vessels within 72 hours before landing.
"So, the ministers will meet with all stakeholders on this circular on Tuesday to find a way out of the congestion at the port."
These terms and conditions contain rules about posting comments. By submitting a comment, you are declaring that you agree with these rules:
Failure to comply with these rules may result in being banned from further commenting.
These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time and without notice.