As the controversy over the collection of Port Access Card by the Ports &Terminal Multipurpose Limited (PTML) thickens, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has called for a meeting between the association and the terminal operators.
In a statement signed on Thursday in Lagos by the Head, Special Duty, NAGAFF, Rev Emmanuel Agubanze, he said that the meeting will be with the view of resolving all issues relating to ease of doing business in the ports and terminals.
He also said that the use of customs license as port pass has been out-lawed completely even as he accused the terminal operator of hiding under the International Ship and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) to extort practitioners.
Agubanze also faulted the terminal operator saying that there is no provision in the ISPS code that allows tolls to be paid to terminal operators.
“May we draw your attention to the ISPS code mandate on ships calling into Nigerian and ports/terminal environment? In these entire mandates, there is no place it is stated that that tolls shall be paid to terminal operators before access can be granted to practitioners. The use of customs license for port access has been out-lawed completely. It is even more worrisome that that the inherent abuse arising from recycle copies of such customs certificate may be in use”, he stated.
He also said that the payment is a stumbling block to the government’s policy on the ease of doing business.
“Everything considered, we see the practice whereby our members are subjected to payment of these illegal tolls as extortion and exploitation and a major stumbling block to the government’s policy on the ease of doing business. We therefore wish to advise that you initiate a meeting with us with a view of resolving all issues relating to ease of doing business in all ports and terminals. It is very strange that among all other existing ports and terminal in Nigeria, it is only PTML that has deployed this level of impunity to extort our members thus hiding under the ISPS code mandate or requirements of touting of non-practitioners”, he said.
He maintained that access into the ports is determined by cards issued by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).