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Port users lament drop in cargo, high import duty

Stakeholders in the maritime sector have blamed the drop in cargo volume and huge loss of revenue by port and terminal operators on the anti-trade policies of the Federal Government.

They said that these policies had also made the country unattractive to investors.

 The President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, said the hike in the duty of imported vehicles in 2014/2015 from 10 per cent to 35 per cent with an additional surcharge of 35 per cent, bringing the total tariff to 70 per cent, had negatively impacted on the operations at the ports and led to massive revenue and job losses.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria that the arbitrary import duty hike also led to the diversion of vessels carrying vehicles to the ports of neighbouring West African countries, thereby boosting operations in those ports – especially the Port of Cotonou.

This, he said, was at the expense of Nigerian ports, adding that the development had adversely affected the operations of dockworkers, licensed Customs agents, freight forwarders, truckers and others.

According to him, the reduction in activities by 70 per cent in the operation of terminal operators that pay the Federal Government based on cargo, through earnings and shipping companies had drastically affected their activities.

NAN also recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics said that the country recorded a decline of N793.5bn in the first quarter merchandise trade to close at N2.72tn from N3.51tn in the fourth quarter of 2015, the first time in the last seven years.

The bureau attributed the decline to a sharp drop in both import and export trade.

Source: Sweetcrude Reports

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