The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has attributed the slowdown of the goods clearing process at the ports to the fallout of the introduction of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The LCCI noted that the delay in clearing cargo at the ports was having serious effect on the cost of doing business in the country.
The Chamber’s President, Remi Bello, in a statement made available to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY raised concerns that the delay at the ports had become a major cause for concern for the business community.
Hitherto, the LCCI had urged the Customs, shipping companies and terminal operators to seek ways to waive the accumulated demurrage for those concerned because the delays “were not caused by importers and it would be unfair if they are compelled to pay for what is not their fault.”
He said: “Persistent delays in the clearance of cargo at the Lagos ports have become a major cause for concern for the business community. One of the major shortcomings of the investment environment in Nigeria is the speed of cargo clearance at the ports; the 48-hour target set by government is far from being achieved”.
He listed the implications of the current situation to include high demurrage charges and disruption of production schedules, as raw materials were not delivered in good time to factories.
Others are high risk of corruption at the ports; risk of exacerbation of inflation; and high cost of borrowed funds by importers.
Others, according to him, are frequent breakdown of the server of the Nigeria Customs Service; delays in cargo release from shipping lines; and tight deadlines for cargo examination booking.
On the need to resuscitate the rail system, Bello said: “Above all, the rail system designed to evacuate cargo from the Lagos ports need to be resuscitated as a matter of utmost urgency. The menace of trucks, trailers and tankers on Lagos roads, in particular, and the national road network in general, has assumed an unbearable dimension.”
With the high transportation cost taking its toll on the operating cost in the economy alongside low productivity in the economy, inflationary pressures resulting from uneconomic and inefficient haulage process and road and traffic congestion in both intercity and intra city transportation with attendant loss of man hours, the chamber urged the federal government to come to the aid of many businesses.
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