After months of apprehension, the controversial “wharf landing fees bill “ has been passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly, even as indications emerged that collection of the fees may start before the end of March, 2009.
The bill which seeks to collect between N300 and N1000 on goods which arrived at the Lagos ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island is government’s way of accessing alternative funding for its vast infrastructures, so says the special adviser to the state governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola on taxation and revenue matters, Mr Adeola Ipaye.
Although, the bill is yet to be assented to by the governor, there are indications that the ceremonial act could come up any moment from now, but the special adviser to the governor told Shipping Position weekly that the ceremony will be witnessed by stakeholders.
The passage by the lawmakers caught virtually all members of the shipping community unawares, while some claimed ignorance of the bill.
But in a swift reaction to the development, the founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, Dr Boniface Aniebonam expressed concern that collection of the fees could trigger similar reactions not only in littoral states, but also in states that containers pass through en route the consignee’s warehouse.
“What happens if states like Rivers, Delta and even Abia states starts collecting similar fees, what about the effect on the economy and prices of goods”, he told our correspondent.
(Please turn to page 6and 7 for the interview with the Special Adviser and page 9 for details of the bill as given exclusively to Shipping Position Weekly).