Clearing agents lament lull at roro terminals

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Seven weeks into the implementation of the ban on vehicles through the land borders by the Nigeria Customs Service, clearing agents operating at the roll-on-roll-off (RORO) terminals at the Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos have lamented that activities were yet to improve at the port.

The clearing agents who spoke under the aegis of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said despite the ban, vehicles are yet to come into the country through the port.
The group’s Publicity Secretary, Stanley Ezenga said reports from freight forwarders on the field revealed that the various ports had not been able to attract the anticipated high influx of vehicle cargoes which the new policy set to achieve.

He however noted that the low level of activities could be because most importers are still expecting government may reverse the policy.

“We don’t think this is a problem as the policy has just started and there is still time to evaluate the whole thing.

“We think importers who were used to diverting cargoes to the neighbouring countries ports are not responding because they think that government might change its mind so that they can continue to use the borders.

“We are in support of this policy and we believe the ban will achieve its objective in time,” he said.

According to him, the fact that vehicle dealers in Benin Republic were already lamenting following the commencement of the policy showed that Nigeria had been losing so much revenue to the neighbouring country’s port.

He urged Nigerians to envision the economic benefits of the policy and give the government the necessary support to achieve its objectives.

Industry stakeholders had expressed belief that until Customs duty on imported vehicles is reduced from 35% to its former level of 10%, the land border policy may not produce desired result.