About 60 containers belonging to Josepdam Port Service, operator of terminal A, at the Tin Can Island Port complex have been trapped for three years over disagreement between the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and its supervisory ministry, Federal Ministry of Finance.
LEADERSHIP investigation has showed that the Ministry of Finance has granted Josepdam waiver on some agricultural equipment imported into the country, but Customs Service has refused to release the containers, thereby, accruing storage charges at other terminals and demurrage on the containers.
It was learnt that the equipment are basically for the construction of silos in the terminal.
Customs Service insist that the waiver was granted the company in error by the Finance Ministry.
Speaking to our correspondent, the deputy managing director, Josepdam Ports Services, Ganiyu Kuteyi lamented the storage and demurrage charges the continuous detention of the containers has accrued to the company for the past three years.
According to him, the Finance Ministry had asked the Customs to release the cargoes since they are agricultural items to be used for conveying Wheat, malt and other items into the silos.
Kuteyi said, “they want us to pay duty on items that are already waived by the ministry of finance and I can tell you that the items are agricultural items, they are for conveying Wheat, malt and other items into the silos that we are about to install.
“We have discussed with the Tin-Can Island Customs Area Controller (CAC), and we believe the ministry of finance will engage the the Customs Comptroller General. But, the customs keep telling us the items are not agricultural items or not for agricultural storage which we have countered so many times.”
Kuteyi said no valid reason for the continued holding back on to their cargoes after making necessary payment and securing waiver from the appropriate authority.
Responding, the public relations officer, Tin-Can Island command of the service, Uche Ejiesieme said the command’s CAC has informed the headquarters that the waver was given to the terminal operator in error.
He said: “with respect to the issue of Josepdam, the command believed that the import duty exemption certificate granted the company under agriculture concession may have been In error, hence the dispute.
“However, as a proactive measure and in line with trade facilitation principles, the customs Area controller has escalated the issue to customs headquarters for resolution and we await the decision of the headquarters on this dufficing that it has gone beyond the command.”