General Manager, SIFAX Shipping Company Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, Henry Ajoh has urged the federal government to reconsider its position on the implementation of the cargo palletisation policy.
According to Ajoh, the government has not adequately engaged the different stakeholders in both the maritime and aviation industries before coming up with the policy, hence, the stiff opposition that it has generated. Importers, agents and manufacturers, amongst others have condemned the policy.
While it might appear that the government could be solving the problem of cargo examination with this policy, the SIFAX Shipping boss argued that it will adversely affect the countryâ€™s economy as the extra cost that the importers will be made to bear, will ultimately be transferred to the consumers, who will be forced to pay more.
He said: â€œThe implementation of the cargo palletisation policy will lead to an increase in the cost of shipment and importation charges. These extra charges will be passed to the end users, who buy the imported goods. The manufacturers who also need to pay more for his imported raw materials as a result of the policy will also pass this to the consumers. Ultimately, this policy will lead to an increase in the prices of goods and you know the implication of this for an economy just exiting recession.â€
Ajoh further noted that the palletisation policy will not adequately address the challenge of faster cargo clearing as all imported cargoes, whether palleterised or not, will still need to be physically examined by the Nigerian Customs Service officers.
â€œThe only way out is to provide modern cargo scanners at the nationâ€™s seaports. The issue of 100 per cent physical cargo examination is outdated and should be jettisoned by the government. We should take advantage of technology to drive the policy of ease of business in the maritime sector. Providing scanners is the right way to go and not compelling importers to palletise their goods. So, I am appealing to the Federal Government to reconsider their stance on the issue and also engage more with various stakeholders in order to find a compromise position,â€ he stated.
Group Executive Vice Chairman, SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, had recently advocated the concession of scanning services at the ports to private investors. The concession of the scanning services, according to him, will help improve the efficient service delivery of the Nigeria Customs Service, protect against the importation of arms and other contraband goods, generate more revenue for the government and keep the country safe.