Palletisation Policy: FG Slams 25% FOB Fine On Defaulting Importers     

L-R: Executive Director, Finance and Administration of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko (R), the Executive Director, Marine and Operations, Dr. Sokonte Hutins Davies (2nd from right), the Retired Managing Director of Lagos Channel Management (LCM), Daniel Fuchs (3rd from right), the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Abdullahi Goje (2nd from left), the newly- appointed Managing Director of Lagos Channel Management (LCM) Segev Mendelson (3rd from left), the Assistant General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Isah Suwaid (left) and other stakeholders at the Farewell party in honour of Fuchs in Lagos, last weekend.

Minister of Finance; Mrs Kemi Adeosun has said that any importer that fails to comply with the compulsory Palletisation Policy of the Federal Government which kicked-off in January 1, 2018 will be made to pay 25% Freight on Board (FOB) value in Naira equivalent of the un-palletised goods. 

The Minister stated this in the addendum to the 2017 Revised Import Guidelines, procedures and documentation requirement under the destination inspection scheme in Nigeria, a copy of which was obtained by Shipping Position Daily in Lagos yesterday.

According to the document which was signed by the Director of Home Finance, Olubunmi Siyanbola for the minister, the appropriate sanctions on defaulters of palletisation policy will be implemented by the Nigeria Customs Service. 

The Minister also said that it is the responsibility of the shipping lines and container carriers to advise all intending shippers to palletise all containerized cargoes that are not exempted from the Nigeria from the new policy.

In the guidelines, she said that: "Any importer or bank discovered to be operating or have issued multiple e-Form ‘M’ for the same transaction (Proforma invoice or commercial invoice) shall have their license seized or blacklisted from doing business with the Nigeria Customs Service”.

Going further, in section ‘J’ of the Sanctions, in item 31, it stated that: "Any Importer that defaults on the mandatory Palletisation of containerised goods imported into Nigeria, shall be liable to a fine of 25% of Free on Board (FOB) value in Naira equivalent of the un-palletized goods

"The amount shall be paid into the Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)" The guideline also stated that, "Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) shall be responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the Palletization Sanctions and Guidelines"

Also speaking with Shipping Position Daily exclusively on the sidelines of an event in Lagos yesterday, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello urged maritime stakeholders to embrace the Palletisation policy, describing it as a policy that will address concealment in importation.

He assured however that the Council is taking note of all the concerns of maritime stakeholders in the new policy and these will be transmitted to the Federal Government. 

He told our correspondent that: "The issues are there, so why would anybody not comply, the most important thing is that we are executing this policy with the concern of the stakeholders in mind. The various concerns of the stakeholders would be translated to the appropriate authorities for them to have in mind that this is the mind of the people, and they should take into consideration why we do this"

"It is better for the shipper or consignee to have his cargoes palletized. One of the things people don't know is that there are lots of issues of concealment, if you examine a container, you will find out that it is not carrying what is 'said to contain' but once it is palletized, we know it is unitized"

"People should accept government policies and work with it to see how we can improve our ports system"