National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has
expressed fears of increased service charges at the nation’s ports if the
Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) insists on Dollar payments from the port
association made its concerns known in a letter addressed to the NPA Managing
Director, signed by the NAGAFF Secretary General, Mr Arthur Igwillo, a copy of
which was made available to newsmen in Lagos.
association said the major concerns are that the exchange rate of the Naira to
the Dollar (N300 to $ 1) would skyrocket the taxes payable by the
concessionaires, which would leave them to increase their service charges to
meet up with their obligation.
therefore recommended that if the NPA would not accept Naira payment, the
concessionaires should be allowed to make payment deposits to the NPA in the
prevailing CBN rate.
pretend not to know what is happening in the
exchange rate market.
shall make a lot of business sense for NPA to invite the concessionaires to
payment of bills with reference to the Dollar rate.
paid in Naira value rather than Dollar. If Dollar must be used to effect
payment, the concessionaires should be made to deposit the money in the
prevailing exchange rate of the Central Bank.
may not have any alternative than to increase
their local charges to meet
up with their overhead, profit margin and fees
payable to the Government
“It is illogical to ask the concessionaires to
pay their taxes in Dollars from the local content operations where payments for
their services are paid in Naira.
locally or from international outfits that pay them in foreign exchange should
be lumped together and expect them to pay in Dollars. It makes more sense if
dues are paid from the currency that the concessionaires get paid for their
“If the NPA despite the variation in the
exchange rate insists on
collecting dues in Dollars, it will be right for
the concessionaires to ask
for an upward review of its charges. This
obviously will hurt the economy
because the multiplier effect of this will be
“At the end of the day it is the common man that
has continued to suffer
the whole essence of insensibility to humanity
in Nigeria. We in NAGAFF
may for the first time support the port
concessionaires in any action they
take to stop unfairness to business relationship.
between Nigerian Shippers Council on one part and STOAN and Shipping Companies
on the other part at the Federal High Court. The frustration has gotten
to a stage that it appear there are signs of illusions on the part of
“It is the opinion of NAGAFF that Government and
Nigerian Ports Authority(NPA) should realize that the cash crunch is everywhere
in the economy. We
hope that the directive to the concessionaires should be negotiated to accommodate
the economic meltdown in Nigeria at the moment,” it read in part.
in the letter, said that as a critical stakeholder, it was particularly
concerned that the NPA had directed that ‘all holders of leases with NPA settle
full rental obligations to it within four weeks.
concession exercise of the port terminals to private operators, it hopes that
in due course, the ports should be structured to accommodate local content.
with carrying out its oversight functions in port administration having been
relieved from the financial burdens usually incurred on capital expenditures,
overheads and patronages, adding that the system had enabled the NPA to
maximize revenue collection through the effective port operators and improved
increase port competitiveness, the enabling environment must be created to
honestly achieve the set goal.
agreement of our port Terminals are the aspects of fees payable to NPA which
are usually in US Dollars. These
fees shall include but not limited to commencement fees, fixed annual payments
of installments and throughput fees based on total volume of cargo handled on vessels that used the leased
payment of concession fees in US Dollars is most patriotic because the concessionaire
charges shipping lines that use their facilities in US Dollars. The idea
of port concessioning policy of the Government is to increase competitiveness,
efficiency and reduce cost of doing business in the Nigerian ports.
“It is also in the public glare that it is not
the problem of the concessionairs who are struggling to meet up their payment
of fees in Dollars to the Government. The inflationary rates and decline
value of Naira is also considered a major
the CBN exchange rate of N197 – N199.50 to a Dollar is very difficult to get. The
mandate of the NPA to the concessionaires to pay up within two weeks or face
sanction including revocation of contracts is unfriendly because the open
market rate is well
over N300 to a US Dollar.
“It means that if the concessionaire is to pay
US$2,000,000.00 which was N130 at the time of signing the contract, it will now
pay at N300 per US Dollar. The implication is that what would have cost
the concessionaire N260,000,000 at N130 per US Dollar will now cost
N600,000,000 at the rate of N300 to a Dollar,” it said.
It also requested to know what the NPA what been
doing with concessioned marine duty including Pilotage, Towage and Dredging,
being handled under a third party arrangement.
the concessioned marine duty of the Nigerian Ports Authority which brought in a
third party under NPA supervision, the formed special purpose vehicles under
Lagos Channel Management, Bonny Channel Company and Calabar Channel Management
Company to provide pilotage, towage and dredging services at the port.”
Copied in the letter are the President, Commander-In-Chief
of the Armed Forces; the Senate President; the Speaker of House of
Representatives; Secretary to the
Federation; the Minister of Transportation; Minister of Finance; the National Security
Nigerian Shippers Council; the Comptroller General of Customs; the Registrar of
the Council for Registration of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria and other
strategic heads of the Government connected to the ports and border activities
of the Nigeria international trade.