Market Association Decries Multiple Taxation At Ports, Embraces Technology To Drive Growth

Market Association Decries Multiple Taxation At Ports, Embraces Technology To Drive Growth

By Babajide Okeowo

The Ndigboamaka Progressive Market Association, NPMA, the umbrella body of over 58 major market associations in Lagos State has decried the issue of multiple taxation by government agencies at Nigerian ports.

This is even as the association as disclosed it is currently embracing technology and innovation to scale-up its operations.

The President of the association, Comrade Chinedu Ukatu made this known at the second edition of the All-Markets Conference 2023 themed Catalysing Partnership With Traders Through Innovation, Analysis and Sustainability held in Lagos over the weekend.

“Multiple taxation by key government agencies at the ports and at various markets is at an alarming rate and not encouraging.

The relevant agencies of government saddled with trade facilitation still finds it difficult to give us the necessary business protection and neither seeks collaborations with us on some policy decisions” he started.

Continuing, Ukatu disclosed that if the trend continues and the Federal Government does not intervene urgently, they won’t have any choice but to leave the business of goods clearing to their foreign partners.

“We (Shippers) are the movers of cargoes, and when there is no shipper, there is no cargo.  It is very disheartening each time we check our inventories and see the amount we buy the US Dollars, and the unreceipted monies we pay as Shippers to our clearing agents (freight forwarders) just to get out 40ft and 20ft containers to our various warehouses, then multiply that by a full shipload.

We want to urge the Federal Government as a matter of urgency to look into this, and if this is not properly looked into, we will have no option but to allow our foreign partners to clear the goods and deliver it to our warehouses themselves” he disclosed.

Speaking on the theme of the event, Ukatu said the association is currently driving into technology and innovation to contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy.

“We discovered that any country that’s not adding new innovation, upgrading skills, building human capacity would be totally left behind by developing countries” he added.

Also speaking, Professor Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman, United Nigeria Airlines who is the Grand Patron of the association and the Chairman of the Occasion called for partnership between traders and government agencies to drive growth and engender seamless trade facilitation.

“There have been so many miscommunications, there have been so many gaps between the traders and the stakeholders, I mean the institutions.

Some of the institutional regulators have seen the traders as enemies. So, I think this forum will afford them the opportunity to engage in dialogue, and then understand themselves and agree on ways and manners of operations, so, that there will be a more cordial, friendlier relationship.

And I think that is necessary because these traders need to operate in a seamless environment. They need to be partners in progress” he disclosed.

On his part, Benjamin Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives who was decorated as the Patron of the association at the event urged the traders to embrace technology to improve on how they do their businesses.

“Well, the world today is about technology so it is already there proving itself. I think the only message here is for us all, including the business people in Lagos State to embrace technology, because it has come to stay.

If you do not embrace it, you’ll be left behind” he disclosed.

He also urged traders of Igbo extraction to respect their host communities

“You can always make a successful business in a friendly business environment. So, you must embrace peace in the environment that you are operating in” he admonished.

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