Shippers Kick Against Alleged Plans to Return to Pre-Shipment Inspection Agents

The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) has kicked against the alleged moves to re-introduce the Pre-shipment  Inspectors at the nation’s seaports even as they threatened to institute legal action.

The President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol who said this in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday stressed that the association is concerned about the speculation going on over the re-introduction of Destination Inspectors in the ports again, adding that the Nigerian government spent huge sums to train officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Nicol recalled that the entire maritime stakeholders fought hard to bring back the Nigeria Customs to conduct destination inspection even as he posited that the equipment (scanners) handed over to the Nigeria Customs by the Destination Inspection Agents at the expiration of their contracts were dilapidated and was a deliberate ploy to make the customs service fail.

“And now they are scheming to return back to the dark days of Pre-Inspection of cargo. Shippers and Importers paid compulsory 1% surcharge a scheme that sapped more than N28 billion every year. In addition, the inspectors were raising the value of goods indiscriminately ‘in their own opinion’

“We believe it is the failure of government import policies that attract detractors who wish to add to the woes of port users. They want to reduce the NCS to ordinary workers without having a say on revenue generation. The Nigeria Customs makes more than N1 trillion for 2 years consecutively without scanning machines and government is happy about their improvements.

“Shippers have a channel to challenge excessive duty levied against our members through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council unlike those dark days that the future of our ports are in the hands of foreigners who have no good intentions for Nigerian importers and exporters and other port users”, he stated.

The SALS President observed that the Destination Inspection Agents cannot boast of any immovable investments in the country for the benefit of shippers and importers.

Nicol however added that the associations would definitely challenge this move in whatever means to stop the re-introduction of another Pre-Inspection regime.