Terminal Operators Urged to Transfer Uncleared, Seized Goods to Govt Warehouse

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Lucky Amiwero
MR. Lucky Amiwero, National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA)

Eromosele Abiodun

Customs agents in Nigeria have called on the federal government to urgently compel terminal operators and shipping companies to transfer all uncleared, unentered and seized goods to federal government’s warehouse to ease port congestion and avoid surcharge by international community.

The National President of National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents, (NCMDCLA), Lucky Amiwero, stated this in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari

Amiwero in the petition warned that though such surcharges were illegal, the shipping companies and terminal operators in various ports in the country would go ahead with them as they are quick to do without ant hindrance.

According to him, “We hereby bring to the notice of the federal government that the need to responsibly transfer all unentered, uncleared and seized goods are the sole responsibility of the terminal operators/shipping companies as contained in Section 31-(1-2) of the Customs and Excise Management Act C 45 of 2004.

“The power to submit the uncleared, unentered and seized goods is conferred on the Nigeria Customs Service by Section 31(1-2) and the transfer of the said goods is the responsibility of the Terminal Operators/ Shipping Companies as contained in the Act, which clearly states, in Section 31-(2): (1), On the Receipt of the List specified in Sub-section (1) of this section, ‘the person administering the area (NPA/Terminal Operator) or where there is no such person, the owner of the ship, Aircraft or vehicle, or his agent, shall immediately transfer all such goods to the Government warehouse or to such other place as the proper officer may approve.’

“In line with the provision of the Act, the person administering the area, or where there is no such person, the owner of the ship, aircraft or vehicles, or agent, shall immediately transfer all such goods to the government warehouse or such other place as the proper officer (Customs officer) may approve.”

He added that all uncleared, unentered and seized goods are the property of the federal government as contained in Section 31, 20 and 97 of the Customs and Excise Management Act C 45 of 2004.

“The provision in Section 31-(1, 4 &5) 20-(B) 97-1&2 conferred ownership of uncleared, unentered and seized goods on the federal government, such goods are no more the property or under the control of the terminal/ shipping company as the first receiver but, under the legal authority of federal government, controlled by the Nigeria Customs Service, which is empowered by various provision of the Act to process the goods on behalf of federal government and charge rent as provided in the Act.

“The Sections clearly states: Section 31-(1): On the 15th day after the completion of the discharge of the importing ship, aircraft or vehicle or at such time as the board may direct, the proper officer shall, in respect of every ship, aircraft or vehicles, deliver to the person administering the area within which the discharge took place or, where there is no such person, to the owner of the ship, aircraft or vehicles, or his agent, or list of goods unloaded from such ship, aircraft or vehicles not yet release by the proper officer.”

He added: “Section 2. On the receipt of the list specified on subsection (1) of this section, the person administering the area , or where there is no such person, the owner of the ship, aircraft or vehicles, or his agent, shall immediately transfer all such goods to the Government warehouse or to such other place as the proper officer may approve.
“Section 3. Where any imported goods remain unentered at the expiration of fourteen days from the date of completion of discharge of the importing ship, aircraft or vehicles, the proper officer may direct the person administering the area within which the discharge of the ship, aircraft or vehicle took place or, where there is no person administering such area, the owner of the ship, aircraft or vehicles or his agent, to remove or store all or any such goods to or at a government warehouse or such other place as the proper officer may approve
“Section 4. Where under subsection (1) or (4) of this section, goods are removed to or stored at a place approved by the proper officer, such place shall be deemed to be a Government warehouse and such goods shall be deemed to have been removed to and deposited in a Government warehouse.”