- Moves to check arbitrary charges at ports
The federal government will realise more than N17billion per annum from the implementation of International Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) on all imports into the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Mr. Hassan Bello, disclosed this in an interactive session with journalists yesterday.
The ICTN was first introduced in Nigeria in 2009 under the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
It was suspended in 2011, following widespread criticisms by stakeholders in the maritime industry.
Four years after its suspension, the federal government through the NSC re-introduced it to curb activities of importers and ship owners who swindle the federal government the much needed revenue from the ports through under declaration of tonnages.
President Muhammadu Buhari who endorsed the project had fixed November 3, 2015 as its implementation take off date.
However, the implementation date had been suspended following stiff opposition by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and ship owners. Also the NSC also needed to fine tune the system to ensure it functions perfectly.
With the ICTN, cargoes in transit can be tracked from port of loading to port of discharge in terms of risk profiling of vessels, crew members, ports of call, mid-stream operations and cargo characteristics.
It is expected that the ICTN will check fraudulent declarations by importers and even ship owners on arrival at the ports.
Nigeria first introduced the CTN in 2009 under the NPA, but had to suspend its implementation because of the controversies that trailed it.
Bello however explained that all the issues had been resolved and MAN had endorsed the ICTN as a viable project.
He said: “The ICTN like any other new thing was greeted with stiff opposition especially from MAN. We said we cannot introduce this unless MAN becomes satisfied because MAN is a very important statkeholder in the economy.
“As a matter of fact, MAN set up a committee and together with Shipping Association of NIgeria, we were invited to appear and at the end of it all, MAN was convinced that the CTN is a viable project.’’
He stated that the ICTN was being fine tuned to ensure that the desired results were achieved.
The NSC boss said the implementation of the ICTN would bring an end to the increasing incedence of under declaration of cargoes and concealments, which he said had denied the federal government of huge revenues.
“What we are trying to do now is to interrogate the system. We don’t want to put a system that will not be acceptable, that is not robust. We want the whole thing to be perfect. We are working silently to make sure that is done.
“We estimated that on trial, the federal government will realise N17 billion per annum, but that is going to be with strong compliance. The importance of the project is that it will boost the revenue of the Nigeria Customs because the end of under declaration has come and concealment will not be done any more. So the ICTN is varitable project. It will also help in accerlating cargo clearance.’’
The executive secretary also pledged to put an end to arbitrary charges to make the ports attractive to business.
He said the ports said the arbitrary charges are making the Nigerian ports unattractive, adding that regulating the charges is the key to achieving efficiency at the seaports and making them more cost effective.