The issue is not new, in the industry, sometimes ago, this same issue was put on the table by the past local government administration but it never saw the light of the day because of its multiplier effect on clearance cost.
I want the state government to suspend its intention on the imposition of wharf landing fees because with its inclusion on the cost already charged, importers by the shipping companies and other operators at the port, it will consequently increase cost of cargo clearance at the nation’s seaport. This in turn will affect the final users of goods imported into the country and on the other hand, may not be attractive to importers and exporters in Nigeria and other neighboring countries to patronize our seaports anymore. On a final note, I would suggest that the state government should consult with stakeholders for a better compromise.
Eugene Nweke (Deputy President, NAGAFF)
By my position, am only giving professional advice to the state government,
Every importation into Nigeria is subject to taxes apart from import duties and value added tax and regulatory fees, this is in addition to shipping company, will it be wise for us to make law or set a precedent?
Other states will jubilate and tomorrow, it may come in disguise as resource control. When the cargoes move from one part of importer’s warehouse all sorts of charges like (owo omo onile) etc are paid before an importer opens a container for offloading.
Importers will appreciate and will be willing to pay to government, but government should stop the molestation which these boys subject people to out there.
Let’s not forget that it’s not permitted in a country to levy on an imported product once it has paid imports duty and has landed on the country’s sea port or border.
At what point should a registered importer pay tax to the government or is this serving as tax for them. I am not saying yes or no, but they should think twice before acting.
Wale Odu (Freight Forwarder)
I told the Lagos state house of assembly that they have a lot of work to do in respect of that issue because the federal government will have to take their hands off it.
Though the amount is not much, the issue where area boys and the (omo oniles) as they are called extort agents and importers should be looked into properly. Such money will no longer be payable to the area boys.
Looking at other part of the state, I see the issue causing crisis that may want importers to pay in places where ports are present and where goods imported are taken to. It will cause a lot of acrimony and trouble, there should be a reason to dialogue between the Lagos state government and operators in the maritime sector on how best to tackle the issue.
Yelwa Abdullah (NIMASA)
I think it will affect the terminal operators, shipping companies and even we government agencies directly or indirectly. It will also bring about inflation in prices of goods that are imported into the country.
The Lagos state government should dialogue with stakeholders on how to sort the issue to avoid problems, as well as take it to the federal government and see how they can assist either by reviewing the bill related to this from the side of the federal government.
The Lagos House of Assembly should make sure things are done in the right way in order not to chase away importers that patronize our ports to neighboring countries like Tema port in Ghana and port of Cotonou, which I believe if there are slight mistakes will take advantage of. In other words, it will encourage smuggling, which the customs are battling with.
If not taken care of properly, it will create problems because their officials will also want to be present at the port, the government is chasing some out and another is trying to come in. A good dialogue is a necessity.
Joseph Arabaonye (Registrar, FFAN)
It’s a legitimate right and it’s not contestable.
Port activities are creating a lot of additional problems for the state, so they have to create means of recovering for those damages caused, cases like road damages etc.
They should however, try and be considerate and understand that there are ports in order states. They should try and beat down prices in order not to create competition or drive away importers from using Lagos ports.
Muse tried it once, but failed, and I also read about it once in one of the dailies.
It’s like what we call “owo omo onile”, that they want to collect. If its achieved what happens to other state like Oyo state that the goods brought in are taken to? That should be a second thought.
For goods to land here in Lagos Ports, its just a passage, because the importers had already paid the dues, is it then going to be on the shipping companies, importers or clearing agents or even NPA itself.
If it’s done, the last consumer on the road suffers but if its on NPA it is added to other charges.
“Owo omo onile” should not go to shipping except it is said to go to NPA and will never loose.
Anonymous, (SDV Shipping Coy)
Are they taking advantage because they have the ports in their state?, it is not proper, it amounts to double charges, because the shipping company pays tax to the government and importers also pay import duties as well , therefore the charges are not relevant in anyway.
The government has just reduced tariffs, its not necessary to impose the fee, it will drive away the interest of people patronizing ports in Lagos.
Adeola Ipaye (Special Adviser, Taxation and Revenue to Gov. Fashola)
Please note that the Wharf Landing Fee is a small charge on imported containers and vehicles (ranging from N300 for a car or small container to a maximum of N1, 000 for heavy duty vehicles). It is to be collected only once, i.e., outside the port and within the local government council in which territory the port is actually located. No other local government can collect the same.
Mainly, this charge is to empower the Apapa Local Government Council to cope with the infrastructure damage caused by heavy vehicular and human traffic around the ports. Note that no special grant is made to the State or local Government out of port charges, despite the very serious obligations and responsibilities which port activities impose on them. Being dedicated to infrastructure (road, drainage, street lighting and repairs, this charge will enable a more conducive atmosphere and thereby encourage importers to use the Lagos ports. All relevant federal authorities were contacted and approvals obtained.