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Freight forwarders to down tools over raised charges

Association of Exports Commodity and Manufacturing Freight Forwarders of Nigeria, an umbrella body of exporters in Nigeria has threatened to withdraw their services over hiked terminal handling charges.

The exporters called on terminal operators to reverse the newly introduced N40.000 terminal handling charge for 20foot container and N60.000 for 40foot container which took effect from June, 2016.

The President of the association, Mr. Bunmi Olumekun, disclosing this in Lagos, explained that over 40 per cent of exporters have closed shop due mainly to excessive charges and harsh operational conditions, while the remaining 60 per cent may be pushed into smuggling, since they can not meet up with multiple charges being imposed on them by terminal operators in the ports.

“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and call the terminal operators to order. If not, we will have no other option than to shut operations. The charges are so numerous and killing. At present, we are paying N4,300 for 20foot container and N6.000 for 40foot container as delivery charges.
“We also pay $30 per tonne of goods as export dollar levy, we pay 0.5per cent of Free on Board (FOB) charge, for cost of goods, transportation and logistics.”

He said aside from the charges mentioned above, exporters equally pay storage fees, among other charges imposed unduly by terminal operators.

“These charges do not even include what our drivers also pay from getting the goods to the terminal where they are discharged, because the drivers begin paying money from the gate”, he said.

He went on to stress that Concessionaires are killing local export industries in Nigeria to the detriment of the economy.

“Government knowing that non-oil export is the only area of our economic drive ought to put regulations in place and monitor concessionaires to align with such  policies, in order to make the ports   business friendly area, so that exporters will not be driven away from government’s eye into smuggling.

“If they go into smuggling, government will lose revenue accruing from that sector. It will also draw us back again, especially now that crude oil price is declining, and government needs export sector for the economy to thrive.  In other countries, they do not go outside the laws to introduce charges capable of killing local export firms. It is only in Nigeria that concessionaires impose all kinds of illegal charges on local industries, in order to enrich themselves, to the disadvantage of the nation’s economy,” he said.

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