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Freight agents demand compensation from operator over poor services

By Adaku Onyencuheya
20 January 2023   |   3:17 am
Freight agents have called on the Federal Government to demand compensation from Webb Fontaine, IT Service providers for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), over poor services leading to loss of revenue for importers, agents, freight forwarders and the government. This is coming on the heels of the National Assembly’s directives to the Federal Ministry of…

Protest at Tin Can Island Port Complex by aggrieved freight forwarders and licensed Customs agents in Lagos PHOTO: ADAKU ONYENUCHEYA

Freight agents have called on the Federal Government to demand compensation from Webb Fontaine, IT Service providers for the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), over poor services leading to loss of revenue for importers, agents, freight forwarders and the government.

This is coming on the heels of the National Assembly’s directives to the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop payment of outstanding funds for Webb Fontaine until after investigations of its activities from 2006 to 2022 are completed.

Recall that the House of Representatives had resolved to investigate the $250 million IT solution contract between the Nigerian Customs Service and Webb Fontaine.

The legislators also mandated the Committee on Customs and Excise to invite the Minister of Finance, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Chairman/Managing Director of the Webb Fontaine Limited, to shed more light on the Service Level Agreement with the company, and report within four weeks.

The National President of Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Frank Ogunojemite called for compensation from the I.T company over poor services for decades.

He lamented that importers and freight forwarders have lost colossal sums from server breakdowns, which have characterised Webb Fontaine’s service over the years.

“We can’t quantify the monetary loss that Webb Fontaine epileptic services has cost freight agents and importers because of the server downtime, which leads to more charges as storage at the terminals. Customs and the federal government also lose revenue because the downtime means payments can’t be made for hours and most times for days,” he said.

The freight forwarder added that Nigerians have been lamenting about their losses as Webb Fontaine bears no responsibility, apologies or explanations despite being the cause of the poor and epileptic services.