06 June 2013, Lagos – FREIGHT forwardersand importers operating in the Lagos ports have abandoned the seaports to patronize the Seme border post following the high cost of cargo clearnce and extortion from Government agencies.
Formers Chairman of the Council for the Regulation Freight Forwarders in Nigeria, CRFFN, Mr. Tony Iju Nwabunike said that agents go through frustration at the seaports and that this have made them to patronize the border post in Seme.
Besides, he said importers who go to Cotonou to bring their goods to Nigeria, pay less duty in that country, and also pay duty at the border post in Seme.
“Despite the payment of double duty, they sell at a cheaper rate than importers who clear their goods at Lagos ports,” he added.
Nwabunike explained that officials of most of the agencies have ended up acquiring licenses to do the jobs of freight forwarders adding that they even poach their staff sometimes.
The former CRFFN boss further explained that Nigeria is not isolated from the international trading system adding as such international best practices should be applied.
“Nigeria is does not operate in isolation of the world trading system, Customs operation can be very frustrating.
“Have you asked yourself why people import from Cotonou, pay duty in Cotonou, come back to Seme, pay some duty here and still sell cheaper in Alaba international market whereas the importer from Apapa port cannot sell his goods because of the added cost of clearing.”
“Every importer wants to go where he will maximize profit and if going through Cotonou will make them maximise profit so be it,” he said.
*Godwin Oritse, Vanguard