Nigeria: 'Customs Crippling Investments in Dry Ports'

6 November 2019

The order by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) that all dry ports bound cargoes must be unsealed, examined and duties paid before being escorted by special officer to their various dry ports (inland container deports) is ill advised and will cripple investments in the struggling dry port sector, an operator has said.

Alh. Ahmad Rabiu, the Chairman Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited (DIDP), told Daily Trust that, already, the directive by the customs is causing panic among investors and international ports stakeholders.

The DIDP is among the Six Pioneer Inland Dry Ports approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2003 initially on landlord model, but signed Concession Agreements on BOOT (Build, Own, Operate & Transfer) in year 2006.


Whilst the Kaduna dry port is fully functional, the Kano dry port is also at the verge of becoming fully operational.

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) is the federal government agency midwifing the ICDs.

Commenting on the NCS Circulars 008&009 issued on 21st and 22nd October respectively, Alh Rabiu said "it is sad that Nigerian Executives continue to act in mlitary fashion through blanket judgements and issuance of arbitrary orders without due regards to global trends and expectations on good governance."

Alh. Rabiu said it also strange that NCS didn't seem it necessary to discuss the new policy with the Nigerian Shippers Council, since it is the supervising agency before taken the harsh decision.

He explained that "the first Circular requires all sealed motor vehicles marts to settle issues of appropriate duty payments at the individual zonal headquarters. This is not good for the Nigeria Customs as it suggests their officers in other locations are either not competent or trustworthy to handle. In addition it will cause undue hardship to affected persons and Nigerian as a whole."

On Circular number 009 which requires all sealed containers to be broken and the contents inspected at the Sea Ports of first arrival and after ascertaining their correctness, reseal them and send them to the intended bonded terminal with escorts is unnecessary bureaucracy and anti-investments.

"We believe this will cause further undue transfer delays at the Sea Ports and more importantly open the cargo to pilferage at the Sea Ports as we have seen what is trending in the social media. We have seen wanton pilferages of uncleared cargos and that is making our Sea Ports unsafe and may soon be so classified by the IMO/UNCTAD," he observed.

More disturbing, he said, is that "this development has sent wrong signals to our foreign partners to the effect that their investments are unsafe as the government agencies are still in the habit of blanket judgements and issuing arbitrary orders."

"We wish to call on the CGC to rescind his decision and also call on the National Assembly to take appropriate steps to protect the innocent and ensure continuing enthronement of good governance at all levels in our polity," Alh. Rabiu appealed.

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