By Segun Oladipupo
The Nigerian Licensed Ship Chandlers Association has accused indigenous terminal operators of collecting illegal dues from the members before being allowed to operate in their terminals saying that the quay side is not exclusive to the terminal operators.
The group stated that the illegality does not involve terminals owned by foreigners.
Speaking with our correspondent in Lagos recently, the Deputy National President of the group, Abilo Ochuko said that every member had to register with the terminal before they could operate in the terminals.
He stated that each member had to register with N25,000 annually with the indigenous terminals apart from the tariffs paid on each supply a Chandler is making per time which he said is being charged according to the amount of goods to be supplied
According to him, ENL Consortium, operators of terminals C and D, Port and Cargo and Josep Dam were the main perpetrators of the illegality.
In his words, “Before you access their terminal, they collect certain amount of money from you. I will count the terminals for you, the indigenous terminals like ENL, Josep Dam and Ports and Cargo.
“In ENL, before you access their terminal, you must register with N25,000 , they will give you a form and you go and bring authority letter from the association to safeguard their own interest.
“With that N25,000 ,it is not enough for you to do the supply, you will pay another money before you can supply in ENL. Even their Commercial Manager told me that they want to increase it and I said be fire they increase, they must send a letter to the association.
“They weigh your good, when you bring it, you write a letter to the Commercial Manager to tell them the cost of what you want to supply, then they charge you and you pay the tariff on what you are going to supply which they are not supposed to do.
“All over the world, in Chandeling, anything you are supplying is Tax-free and the terminals that belong to foreigners don’t collect anything from you. Whenever you have a job to do in their terminals, you go freely, the only thing is that the agent will send a mail to them that you are coming.
Earlier, the president of the association, Dr. Martin’s Enebeli said that the group was faced with myriad of challenges which according to him include multiple regulatory bodies in the port.
He added that members of the association in the process of carrying out their duties are constrained by the failure of Nigeria to align with the global technological advancements taking place in the word.
He said, “Nigerian water today is regulated by close to 12 to 15 regulatory bodies and law enforcement agents attending to one shipping business operation.
“All these bureaucratic bottlenecks make it almost impossible for shipping chandling to thrive.
When contacted, the Legal Adviser and Company Secretary of ENL, Barr. Boye Uzamot admitted that such fee is being collected annually as registration but however denied knowledge of the other tariffs being paid according to the quantity of supply.
He added that ENL is a friendly terminal that carries out its business within the precinct if the Nigerian laws and in agreement with the terms of concession regulations.
He maintained that the management of the terminal was aware of the present state of the economy and would by no means add to the hardship of the citizens.
The Public Relations Officer of SIFAX group, Philips Ojo promised to get back to our correspondent but has not as at the time of filing this report.