Clearing agents fret over non-refund of rent waivers
Seven months after the Federal Government directed waivers on rent at the seaports due to the effects of COVID-19 lockdown, the clearing agents are yet to be refunded by the adamant terminal operators.
Having waited to no avail, the agents petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and ensure swift refund of the rent fees.
President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, said all the terminals have refused to refund the payment for the 35 days lockdown waiver on COVID-19, after collecting the money from importers and licensed Customs agents.
He enjoined the Federal Government to compel the terminal operators to refund all illegally and forcefully collected COVID-19 relief measures, approved for importers and licensed Customs agents.
Amiwero urged the Presidency to compel the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to make the terminal operators refund the fees, which was hitherto collected illegally in flagrant disregard for government’s directive.
The waiver was provided as an incentive to consignees to encourage clearance during the lockdown for a period of 35 days from March 23rd.
The Managing Director, NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, had earlier explained that the waivers were meant to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 on the consignees.
She said the government would refund the terminal operators by way of credit note equating to the exact amount involved.