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Shortage of containers hits Europe, Asian countries

Jonathan Nicole, President, SAL

—as Nigerian-bound cargo trapped in China

Eyewitness reporter

A major crisis of container shortage has hit most European and Asian countries resulting in the inability of manufacturers to export their commodities.
Nigeria, as an import-dependent country, is mostly hit by this container shortage as a large percentage of cargo bound for the country is presently trapped in China.
More than 70 percent of Nigerian imports are from China.
However, the scarcity of containers to bring in these goods from China is the major challenge facing Nigerian shippers.
Confirming the development in an interview in Lagos on Monday,  Jonathan Nicole, President of the Shippers Association of Lagos (SAL), decried the untold hardship the container crisis has visited on Nigerian Importers, blaming lack of support from the government to resolve the problem.
Our reporter recalls that container shortage in Europe and Asia was exacerbated by the unorthodox practice of shipping companies in Nigeria whose vessels abandon empty containers in Nigeria after discharging their imports at Nigerian  ports.
The vessels mostly leave imballast from Nigeria only to get to some African Countries like Ghana or Togo  to pick empty containers, a practice that was in flagrant disregard of the directive of Nigerian authorities.
However, Nicole claimed that over 10,000 of such abandoned containers are presently in Nigeria, staying idle as they cannot be transported to China and Europe to bring in cargoes to Nigeria.

He also decried the lack of support from the state and federal governments, adding that shippers had given so much and expected government to reciprocate their efforts with some palliatives.

Nicol complained that shippers pay too many bills, adding that what they used to spend like N10,000 on before has now gone to about N200,000.

The SAL boss further bemoaned the slow pace of ongoing construction works on the West Minister end of the Tin Can Island road, adding that if care was not taken, the Tin Can Island Port would be affected.

“The bad road makes our goods fall off the trucks and this is a big challenge for shippers because their goods are not guaranteed. Insurance will say it’s a natural consequence because the roads are not part of what they insured,” Nicol lamented.

He said if the government looked into the challenges they were facing,  Nigerian manufacturers are ready to contribute to Nigeria’s economy, the same way as the oil and gas and customs were doing.

Mr. Nicole observed that if Customs could generate about N2 trillion, agencies like Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) could equally generate huge sums.

“Looking at the income of Nigeria Customs Service, they were able to rake in N2 trillion, it shows how dynamic Nigerian importers and shippers are.

“In spite of the enormous challenges, the constant increase in income of the customs remains the same. So we commend the efforts of the trading community, they have done well.

“We feel that we should have been able to do more to support the government but the challenges are enormous, sometimes we wonder if the country cares because the bills we pay are also enormous.

“This is in spite of the fact that we try as much as possible to cooperate with government regulations and keep up with the expectations of government,” he said.

Nicol said there were many agitations with the shipping and terminal operators who increased their prices in 2021, adding that the government needs to fine-tune the processes in cargo clearance.

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Customs

Freight Forwarders applaud Customs over new VIN valuation

—- as reworked policy comes on stream Friday
Eyewitness reporter
In a rare show of satisfaction and mutual agreement, the highly critical freight forwarders have applauded the Nigeria Customs Service over the new Vehicles Identification Number (VIN) valuation policy.
The new vehicle valuation, which was first introduced about two months ago, was greeted with uproar from the freight forwarders who described the policy as inhuman and unrealistic due to the high values it placed on vehicles.
This led to the suspension of the system by the customs authority which thereafter reworked and improved the policy by accommodating the observations and grievances of freight forwarders.
At the second stage of the demonstration and sensitization of stakeholders on the new VIN valuation held at the Apapa Customs command Thursday, the freight Forwarders were full of praises for the customs over the improved valuation system which they all agreed has addressed and accommodated their views.
“This is very good. The new VIN valuation system has accommodated all our observations, even though there is room for improvement.
“It has taken care of the savage vehicles and accidented vehicles, which the first VIN didn’t consider”, Kayode Farinto, the Acting President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) and one of the most critical voices of the system, said.
Earlier, the Customs Area Controller of Apapa Command, Comptroller Malanta Yusuf, who is the host, enjoined the stakeholders to take full advantage of the automated system which he said would make goods clearance procedure seamless and faster.
While welcoming the stakeholders to the sensitization meeting, Comptroller Yusuf urged them to be compliant with the extant guidelines to enable them to enjoy the benefits of the new system.
He assured them help desk would be created in each of the commands to help resolve the teething problems that are bound to crop up, adding that there would be continuous engagement and improvement on the new valuation policy.
He told the appreciative stakeholders that the VIN valuation policy is irreversible and will be deployed this Friday, May 20th, 2022.
Comptroller Festus Okun, the Customs Area Controller of Ports Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML) Command said the Customs, through the VIN valuation, has imbibed basic principles of taxation which include predictability, neutrality, simplicity, and efficiency.

Comptroller Kunle Oloyede of Tin Can Island Port,  described VIN as a platform for robust gathering of statistical analysis and data for national economic purposes relying on the template of accuracy that will further integrate NCS with other ministries, departments and agencies.

Comptroller Hammi Swomen of Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command, who sought more cooperation from all stakeholders, stated that sincere declarations without tampering with relevant information contained in Single Goods Declaration or mismatching information will aid in quicker clearance and seamlessness of the VIN system.

Comptroller Anthony Udenze of the Tariff and Trade Department at Customs headquarters urged vehicle importers and their agents to avoid acts that would delay the process of clearing.

He explained that the process of identifying salvage and accident vehicles under the VIN regime would be very transparent as the declarant would be expected to attach photos showing the accidented vehicles.

He further explained that for vehicles to be treated as accidented, the chassis must be affected by the accident not just by removing fenders, bumpers and headlamps.

However, Farinto called for true declaration and compliance on the part of freight forwarders. w2hivh he said will facilitate their clearance of goods and also made the Customs to introduce more changes such as auto release for used vehicles.

Comptroller Yusuf promised that the issue of auto release of used vehicles, which is not yet accommodated in the new system, will be looked into by the Customs High Command.
The new improved VIN valuation policy has therefore addressed most of the major concerns of stakeholders who said they couldn’t wait to start using the system.
The new system has been given a human face as the assessed values are adjudged as fair and the process transparent by the freight forwarders.
It has also considered the two options of salvage vehicles and accidented vehicles.
It is harmonisation and unification of all the hitherto isolated different values at the commands.
According to Comptroller Udenze, the new VIN valuation considers all the variants and series of all vehicles.
The technological system, which is expected to promote trade facilitation, has also been amended to reflect the reduction in the value of vehicles..

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Foreign

U.S. picks 56 young Nigerians for Mandela Washington Fellowship

US President, Joe Biden
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Headlines

Prophet Akinpelu calls  for Southeast presidency

Prophet Oludele Akinpelu,

 

—condemns  criminal silence of politicians on Deborah’s death

Adebayo Obajemu

Popular prophet, Oludele Akinpelu, the presiding pastor of Living God Freedom Church  Àlagbado, has urged the political class to play by the rules and allow equity and justice to have a foothold, saying that it was time for the political system to allow for the president of Igbo extraction.

He made this call in a press release at the end of his annual 41- day of prayers and fasting.
The popular prophet noted for prophetic utterances which normally come to pass added that for the sake of equity and fairness, the Southeast of the country should be allowed to produce the next president of the country.
” For the sake of equity and justice, I urge all presidential contenders from all parts of the country in all the parties to withdraw for Southeast candidates who will then sort themselves out in the primary.
” A nation can not survive if it is built on injustice, honestly, my heart is with the people of the southeast on the issue of the 2023 presidential ticket.
” And I know I’m not alone in this. Pa Ayo Adebanjo expressed a similar sentiment. That’s the way to go if this country must survive.”
He also condemned politicians for not speaking out in the case of Deborah Samuel, who was murdered by fellow students at the Shehu Shagari College of Education for allegedly making derogatory comments on Prophet Mohammed.

” We must condemn jungle justice, if the lady had done something wrong let the court of competent jurisdiction decides.

“The two religions – Islam and Christianity have respect for the sanctity of human life, so I can’t understand where the murderers got their inspiration.
“Even the respected Sheikh Gumi said as much that Prophet Mohammed was insulted severally but he didn’t do anything harmful to his traducers.
“We must be guided by respect for law in our action.”
 The respected prophet urged the political class to put their house in order and do the needful to take the country out of economic hardship, insecurity, and pervasive poverty that pervade the land, warning that God’s anger is on those bent on sponsoring crises and insecurity in the country.

He  declared that “unless politicians repent and  seek the face of the Lord, sudden punishment awaits them for bringing the country to a shameful low in the eyes of the international community through their ill-thought-out economic policies, greed, self-aggrandizement and lack of concern for the welfare of citizens who entrusted them with power and representation.”

In his message to Nigerians, he urged the people to repent and seek the path of righteous living, adding that the current insecurity situation in the country calls for concerted prayers on the side of both Christians and Moslems.

It could be recalled that last June in his open-air crusade in Ikare Akoko which attracted over five hundred thousand people, he prophesied that the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic would wane in Nigeria from the first quarters of 2023, he also said that unless fervent prayers were offered, a notable religious leader in Nigeria would die in the first quarters of this year. All the prophecies have since come to pass.

He attributed the worsening insecurity in the country to the activity of forces of darkness who are bent on foisting a sinister agenda on the country, cashing in on poverty and illiteracy to recruit an army of jobless illiterates to carry out their agenda.

He blamed the current administration for not doubling down on countermeasures against bandits, wondering why the administration is reluctant to name individuals fingered as sponsors of banditry, but added that divine punishment awaited those sponsoring insecurity which had led to the loss of lives of innocent citizens of the country.

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