LCCI, AREFFN Others Laud PTML Customs For Classifying Sienna, Ford, Others As Contraband

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has lauded the decision of the, Ports & Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to stop Multipurpose Vehicles (MPV) of 15 years old and above from coming into the terminal.

The Director General of LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, who disclosed this in a chat with Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, last week, described the move as a policy of the government, he charged importers and freight forwarders to comply with the policy.

 He also reiterated that more awareness should be created on that policy for people to be aware of the policy.

The LCCI boss advised that if the people are not comfortable with the policy, they should find a way of working on the government to ensure that the policy is changed.

“I think there is a policy on the age of the vehicles that people can bring in and if the policy is there, I think people should try and comply with the policy. The government said that vehicles that are more than a particular number of years shouldn’t come in. So people need to be aware that there is a policy there and they should comply”.

He maintained that customs should not be blamed for placing a ban on such vehicles, stressing that importation of such vehicles is a violation of government policy.

“You see what is important is that if there is a policy, the policy should be respected; if there is need to change the policy, people should work on the government so that the policy can be changed. But if there is a policy people should comply with that, you can’t blame the customs who are saying that the vehicles are contraband because it is a violation of the policy. If the policy is not good and people want it changed, then you have to work on the government to change the policy first. But if a policy is on ground, it is like a law you have to comply, if the law is not good you have people that will work on the law”

He advised that importers and freight forwarders should collaborate with key stakeholders in the sector to ensure that they policy is changed if they are not comfortable with the policy.

“If people feel that the policy is not convenient or it is not good enough they have to talk to government to change the policy by talking to people like us at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and other stakeholders like ANLCA and other stakeholders in the maritime sector. They will sit with the government and say, okay because of the situation of the country vehicles above this age should be allowed in so that some jobs can be created and more revenues generated. That is the way to go about it”, he advised.

Also speaking, the former president of the Association of Registered Freight forwarders on Nigeria (AREFFN) Dr. Frank Ukor,  said that the law has described vehicles who are 15years and above as contraband. 

He also appealed to the service to provide a window through which such vehicles can be cleared.

“That is the law; it is the law that any vehicles from 15years and above are contraband. If a vehicles was manufactured in 2003 and this is 2018 that is 15 years so it contraband, it is the law, the law has said 15 years; no two-way about it. If it is already in this port, the year of manufacturing is there except if the vehicle came last year. And if the vehicle came last year, the importer will have a lot of demurrages to pay and I wonder if the owner would like to pay that demurrage because if you calculate it you have a lot of money to pay. But however we have a custom that is proactive, Nigeria customs are very intelligent they use their senses and they have human feeling in anything that they are doing.

So I am sure that they have a window through which all these things will be cleared. But all the same they are always very intelligent and they use their brain”, he concluded.  

Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Mr. Stanley Ezenga, also lauded the decision of the service, saying that vehicles above 15 years old are banned from coming into the country.

The NAGAFF spokesperson also maintained that the association as an advocate group will not go contrary to the trade policies of the government.

“Of course you know any vehicle above 15 years is already contraband and banned from coming into Nigeria. And NAGAFF will not be a party to anything that will go contrary to the policy of the government, as an advocate group, NAGAFF will ensure that the rule of law and due process is observed. So we don’t support anything that has to do with short-paying of the government either through the policy or any other thing”.