Lagos – A maritime expert, Dr Frank Ojadi, on Friday urged the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to clarify who bears of costs of the proposed Cargo Tracking Note (CTN).
Ojadi, who works in the Operations Management Department of the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, made the assertion in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
According to the statement, the CTN was abolished almost immediately it was introduced three years ago due to the high cost it imposed on shippers (importers and exporters) and the strong opposition to it.
It said that the reasons adduced by the NSC for the re-introduction of the CTN were not convincing, adding that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had the skills to monitor risks associated with imports.
“Curiously, the NSC has been silent on who bears the cost of this scheme.
“And economic regulation of port operations does not cover issues of this nature.
“How would the introduction of CTN improve port efficiency?
“This appears to me to be another taxation which points to increasing the high cost of doing business in Nigeria,“ the statement quoted Ojadi as saying.
“The organisation to issue the CTN has to be present at the ports of embarkation which are scattered all over the world.
“Who will pay for this worldwide service? Or are we going to restrict all imports to Nigeria to specific ports abroad?
“If the exporter abroad has to incur any expenses in getting the CTN, you can be sure it will be passed on to the importer. And how will the NSC prevent this?’’
The statement also sought to know at what point would the issuing agent verify that the contents of the container tallied with the CTN to be issued.
“Is at the embarkation port or at the factory?
“Shipping companies are generally protected by the clause `said to contain’ when they hand out containers stuff with the export cargo. How does the NSC intend to deal with this?
“How will this CTN deal with corruption at the Nigerian end?
“If you are aiming to stop trade fraud, then you must ensure that all imports follow the Form `M’ procedures and prosecute all cases of concealment or false declaration of imports,’’ it said.
The statement said there were many questions to be addressed, adding that “it does not seem that the NSC has taken time to look at these issues before pushing for the CTN’’.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government has assured that the CTN will not attract any tariff whatsoever and allayed the fears of possible surcharges when it is eventually introduced.
The Executive Secretary of the NSC, Mr Hassan Bello, had also told freight forwarders at a recent meeting in Lagos that there was need to enlighten stakeholders on the innovation.
He said that it was a business-enhancing product that comes to them free of charge.
Bello said the innovation (CTN) would not bring about delay in the cargo clearing process, describing it as an efficiency enhancer.
“The CTN which was introduced about three years ago brought a lot of delay and it was not accepted by the industry because it had cost attached to it.
This one is at no cost to the economy and directly, there is no cost at all to the shippers; that is very important.
“It is at no cost to the Nigerian economy, it is at no cost to the shippers,’’ the executive secretary had said. (NAN)