Customs Make U-Turn, Suspends Earlier Directive On Ban of Barge Operations
The Nigeria Customs Service seems to have suspended its earlier directive that evacuation of containers by barges should be suspended at the nation’s port due to cargo diversion to illegal warehouses.
It was reported earlier that a circular with number NCF/ENF/ABJ/058/S.23 dated 12th of March 2020 was released by the Customs Comptroller General, Hameed Ali to all Area Controllers, Heads of Federal Operations Unit, Strike Force Units among others for immediate action.
But the area controllers were yet to even commence implementation before stakeholders started kicking vehemently against the ban.
Part of those that kicked against the ban on barge operations were the Chairman, Nigerian Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Kunle Folarin, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA).
A freight forwarder, Mr. Frank Onyekachi confirmed to our correspondent that “Due to public outcry the Customs have asked us to continue the use of barges for evacuation of containers “
“The Customs CGC does not have the right to stop evacuation of containers by barges, you need to come to the port, especially at Tin Can Port for you to see what is happening, there is no access road in and out of the port”
“We are not happy taking our containers by barges because it is more expensive, but under the present circumstances, not is our best option, if the CGC feels that some smart alecs are using barges to divert cargoes, he should beef up his officers to raid these identified warehouses “
Reacting earlier to the ban, National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukhaila said that the Nigeria Customs Service is not in sync with modern trade facilitation processes.
He argued that suspending barge operations on account of importers diverting cargoes to illegal warehouses is a smacks laziness and ignorance on the part of Customs officers.