Lack of space at ports delays cargo clearance



Some clearing agents in Lagos on Thursday said that the delay in computing the 35 per cent duty on vehicles by Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) was delaying cargo clearance.

They told that the ships, carrying their vehicles and other goods had berthed, but had no space to off-load.

Mr Emmanuel Onyia, a clearing agent, said that his cargoes arrived on May 12, but were yet to be discharged from the ships because of lack of space.

“There is no space at Tin-Can Apapa ports to discharge cargoes.

“The goods that have been discharged have not been cleared by their agents who are battling with the 53 per cent duty payment.

“It is time for the 35 per cent duty issued to be properly resolved. Manpower and revenue is being lost as a result of the policy,’’ Onyia said.

Mr Olu Ogungbemi, another agent, said that his importer had threatened not to do business with him again because of the delay in clearing the goods on time.

Ogungbe said that the new auto policy should have taken off on July 1 as earlier scheduled to allow some importers to clear their imported vehicles.

Chief Stephen Uzonuoma, an automobile trader, appealed to the government to allow importers to carry out last minute importation on used vehicles.

Usonuoma said that the government should review the 35 per cent duty being collected by the customs so that people would not run out of the business.

He said that vehicles importation has gradually dropped as a result of the policy which came into existence in 2013.

According to him, government should not have started collecting the 35 per cent duty now because most of the importers are making efforts for massive import on vehicles before the date of expiration.

He said that the importers had been lamenting over the policy, which he said, had also sent some of the businessmen out of their  trade.