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By Abdulateef Bamgbose

The Federal Government has inaugurated a collaborative Task Team of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Ministry of Transportation and others with the charge to address lingering issues of overtime cargoes at the nations seaports and terminals while also proffering best case situation on how these cargoes can be cleared.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMT) and Chairperson of the Committee, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, while inaugurating members of the Task Team in Abuja stressed on the importance of the Task Team and that the inability to clear overtime cargoes at the ports and terminals has affected the number of cargoes that can be handled due to limitation of space.

Similarly, Ajani observed that this has resulted to a drastic drop in the volume of cargoes coming into the country. Adding that the reduction in cargoes has ultimately affected Internally Generated Revenue which is now lost to the neighbouring countries.

Furthermore, the Permanent Secretary explained that the clearing of overtime cargoes should not be confined to the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal, Lagos Port Complex, and TinCan Island Port Complex but all other ports and Terminals within the country.

On the composition of the Task Team Ajani said it was as a result of series of meetings between the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo and the Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, and the I Secretary, FMT, Dr. Magdalene Ajani. She called on the Task Team bring their professionalism to bear in the discharge of the onerous task.

Permanent Secretary read the “Terms of Reference” (ToR) and they include but not limited to:

• Confirm the inventory of submission by the Nigerian Ports Authority on the actual number of overtime cargo in the ports and other locations;

• Conduct a joint examination of all such cargo to determine contents suitable for use or consumption;

• Provide a list separating goods for disposal by public auction and those to be deposed by condemnation/destruction;

• Gazette all cargoes identified as overtime for disposal;

• Determine methodology for public auctioning at various port/locations;

• Determine the recoverability of part of Terminal Operator’s revenue arising from long occupation of economic spaces and transfer charges;

• Ensure that the process is in conformity with applicable customs practices;

• And any other task that may arise in the cause of the assignment;

Responding on behalf of the team, Comptroller Adekunle Oloyede, of the Nigeria Customs Service, assured that the Task Team is a one stop shop that will certainly unravel the overtime cargoes challenge.

The Task Team is expected to summit its report within 8 weeks.

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