The Executive Secretary, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has assured shippers and manufacturers that shipping companies will bear the cost of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) when implemented.
Jime gave the assurance when some executive members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), led by a former Vice President of Lagos Zone, Mr. John Aluya, paid a courtesy visit to NSC headquarters in Lagos.
Jime noted that the CTN cost was not new and had been in existence before it was suspended in 2012 to address the bottlenecks. He explained that the CTN cost, which would be very minimal, had always been in shipping charges.
Jime also reassured manufacturers that NSC would address the complaints and concerns raised about the reintroduction of the CTN as a major stakeholder in decision-making.
“In the past, the implementation of the CTN was met with a lot of misunderstanding. Hence, the reason to express caution in the willingness for its introduction.
“The reintroduction of the cargo tracking note this time is not fundamentally different from the previous operations of the tool. The cost implication has been allocated in a way that it does not have dramatic damage as far as the economy is concerned,” he said.
Jime said beyond the worries about the CTN, stakeholders need to look at the real impact of the initiative on the nation’s economy. He said the CTN will eradicate the proliferation of small arms into the country, of which some had found their way through the ports. He said it will also provide a secured environment that will enable businesses to perform.
Jime also pointed out that the CTN could address the issue of crude oil theft, which is a huge challenge to the country. He noted that the amount of crude stolen was sufficient enough for economic growth and development.
Jime, however, urged stakeholders to look at the positive impact of the re-introduction of the CTN and reap the benefits, rather than focus on what may appear to be cost derivatives.
Speaking earlier, Aluya, expressed concerns that the re-introduction of the CTN will lead to a new fiscal burden on Nigerian shippers and consequently inflate prices for imported goods.
Aluya lamented that the nation’s ports are already overtaxed, as almost every regulatory issue comes with additional costs. He said the manufacturers’ ultimate aim was to make sure Nigeria becomes the hub of the West-African sub-region in production.
Aluya noted that if costs at the ports keep rising, Nigeria would be driving away the land-locked countries from using its ports.
“We don’t pay these additional costs directly, it is the final consumer that pays because it would reflect on the final prices of our products,” he said. He, however, expressed optimism that the port economic regulator, NSC, would understand the fiscal implications and prioritise the interest of the nation.
“As a nation, Nigeria is supposed to be the hub of West African shippers but because of our multiplicity of charges we have become so uncompetitive. This has made the landlocked countries use a small country like Benin Republic to bring in their goods instead of Nigeria because of the too many charges.
“We must not add to the already overburdened cost of doing business at the nation’s ports. This will enable our ports to be attractive to sailors and shippers,” he said.
Also, the Director of the Corporate Services Division, MAN, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, reiterated the association’s stand of not being ready to bear the burden of the cost of the CTN.
While briefing the NSC on the many discussions on the CTN, Oruche pointed out that in 2012 when it was first implemented, the consultant shifted the burden on manufacturers. He said this made them raise an alarm that forced the Federal Government to stop the implementation.