A maritime expert, Dr. Frank Ojadi, last week asked the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to clarify who bears of costs of the proposed Cargo Tracking Note (CTN).
Ojadi, who is the Head, Operations Management Department of the prestigious Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, made the assertion in a statement made available to newsmen.
According to him, the CTN was abolished almost immediately it was introduced about five years ago due to the high cost it imposed on shippers (importers and exporters) and the strong opposition to it. He said that the reasons adduced by the NSC for the re-introduction of the CTN were not convincing, adding that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had the skills to monitor risks associated with imports.
“Curiously, the NSC has been silent on who bears the cost of this scheme. And economic regulation of port operations does not cover issues of this nature. How would the introduction of CTN improve port efficiency? This appears to me to be another taxation which points to increasing the high cost of doing business in Nigeria,” Ojadi said.
“The organisation to issue the CTN has to be present at the ports of embarkation which are scattered all over the world. Who will pay for this worldwide service? Or are we going to restrict all imports to Nigeria to specific ports abroad? If the exporter abroad has to incur any expenses in getting the CTN, you can be sure it will be passed on to the importer. And how will the NSC prevent this?
The university don also sought to know the point at which the issuing agent would verify that the contents of the container tallied with the CTN to be issued.
“Is at the embarkation port or at the factory? Shipping companies are generally protected by the clause `said to contain’ when they hand out containers stuffed with the export cargo. How does the NSC intend to deal with this? How will this CTN deal with corruption at the Nigerian end as claimed by the NSC?” he queried.
Ojadi said there were many questions to be addressed, adding that “it does not seem that the NSC has taken time to look at these issues before pushing for the CTN”.
He also said that it would be wrong for the NSC to reintroduce the CTN without approval of the Federal Executive Council as such move would amount to “usurping the powers of the FEC”.
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