Waivers abuse forces importers to abandon goods in ports
The abuse of Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA Act) by terminal operators is seen as being responsible for the abandonment of cargoes at the ports by over burdened importers.
The Guardian gathered that most of the operators fleece the ports after being forced to go through the rigour of dispute resolution and investigations during which the cargo is entitled to waiver of rent and demurrage for the period of resolution.
The cost of demurrage accumulated is rather transferred to the importer and further compounds his financial burden and complications to ease of doing business.
Reports showed that about 30 per cent of goods imported through Nigerian ports experience this discouraging act, and forces importers to find solace in neighbouring ports.
Apparently worried by the situation, the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), has petitioned the Presidency on the need to ensure compliance with the statutory requirement for waiver of rent and demurrage as a result of delay on imported goods that are subject to Dispute Resolution (DR) and investigation activities in line with the ease of doing business.
The petition signed by the President, NCMDLCA, and Managing Director, Eyis Resources, Lucky Amiwero, cited the statutory provision under Section 152 Customs and Excise Management Act, which covers goods associated with delay that is undergoing dispute resolution as regards valuation, classification, rule of origin, intellectual property right, and investigation activities among others.
The letter read in part: “When any goods are deposited in Customs areas (Terminals) or in a Government warehouse under or by virtue of any provision of this Act, and the Board is of the opinion that having regards to all the circumstances of the case, no rent or reduced rent shall be charged therefore. It may waive or reduce any rent payable or refund the whole or any part of any rent paid under this Act.”
It further read: “The legal and global process on goods subjected to dispute resolution mechanism and investigative process are granted relief or waiver by removing the cost of associated delays.
“We hereby appeal to the government to implement the provision of Section 152 by the waiver of rent and demurrage associated with delays in dispute resolution and the investigating activities of the Customs and any government agency, involved in the inspection of imported goods, so as to reduce the abandonment of goods by importers after the completion of dispute resolution and investigative activities.”
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