Task force petitions Presidency over fresh ports’ charges

Nigeria Ports AuthorityTHE Task Force for the Review of Port Charges in Nigeria has written a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari over an alleged illegal approval for collection of practitioners’ operating fees at the ports by the Ministry of Transport, saying that the development contravenes the spirit and letter of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding Act.

According to its Chairman, Lucky Amiwero,the only recognised fees were the yearly practising chargesstipulated by the Act.

He said the fresh move was earlier outlawed by government owing to its unhealthy impacton the economy.

Amiwero, who said the new directive flies in the face of all known protocols be it domestic or international, especially WTO Article VIII, which specifies that such charge must be tied to services, said: “All revenue collections at the ports must be backed by law and tied to services.

“The Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding Act is not rendering any service at the ports yet increasing cost by such illegal approval, which is not in agreement with our domestic law or the international protocol of fees and charges connected to import and export under WTO Articles VIII that must be tied to services.”

Amiwero further stated: The Council’s tenure expired since November 2012, which by the Federal High Court ruling, cannot exercise any function until the body is constituted. The collection by members of staff of the Council contravenes provisions of the Act and the High Court ruling.”

The task force chief, however, implored the new administration to act by the rule of law by putting a haltto the collection, noting that the nation’s ports hold the unenviable record of costliest facilities in the West African sub-region regarding charges, frequency and their multiplicity.

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