Laments colossal losses to prolonged land border closure
By Kenneth Jukpor
Following reports that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) would route cargoes to Eastern ports in order to decongest Lagos ports, the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has stressed the need to dredge Calabar and Warri ports to accommodate huge vessels.
The association also encouraged NPA to hold sensitization meetings with importers in order to get their support on the need to diversify cargo traffic and ensure patronage of ports outside Lagos.
The President of ANLCA, Hon. Tony Iju Nwabunike made this call while addressing journalists under the aegis of Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN) at the ANLCA National Secretariat, yesterday.
The ANLCA President stressed that these strategies would encourage patronage of the Eastern ports without coercing importers to route their cargoes to the ports.
The association also lamented that over 2,000 trucks with goods are trapped at the Nigerian borders six months after the closure of the borders which was scheduled to be temporary measure to address the porosity of the borders.
According to Nwabunike, there should be a review of the process for the benefit of legitimate importers whose businesses have been crippled by the impromptu policy.
“SIx months into the Seme border closure which commenced on Aug. 20, 2019 and the Federal Government keeps saying that they will reopen the borders soon. The present situation of goods now at the Seme borders is very sad and something should be done to reduce the suffering of the importers of these goods,” he said.
Giving account of ANLCA members at the borders, he noted that some of the goods were seen with maggots coming out from them, adding that some of the fragile goods have also gotten spoilt as a result of direct exposure to the harsh weather.
Although he couldn’t ascertain the amount lost to the closed borders, he stressed that the land borders cannot be permanently closed.
As a short term measure to address importers’ woes, he urged the government to do a quick review of the situation and allow dutiable goods from the affected neighbouring countries to pay duty and come in.