Group to sue terminal operators, shipping firms over demurrage refund
The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Agents (NCMDLCA) has called for Federal Government’s intervention over the refusal of terminal operators and shipping companies to refund the 35 days demurrage waiver and rent approved for the relief of importers and licensed customs agents during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown by the Presidency.
The group, in a letter of reminder to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on its intention to sue the terminal operators and shipping companies, said the refusal to implement the directive from the presidency on relief for importers and licensed customs agents is a clear contravention of international maritime obligation on COVID-19 pandemic.
The National President, NCMDLCA, Lucky Amiwero, alleged that the terminal operators and shipping companies “illegally and forcefully” collected the rent of the 35 days from importers and the licensed customs agents during the lockdown, which affected the maritime industry.
He alleged that the terminal operators and shipping companies connived with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), who is to implement the waiver process, in refusing to refund the COVID-19 demurrage waiver.
“The management of the Nigerian Port Authority was forwarded with the terminal operators and shipping companies receipt of payment made by the importers and licensed customs agents, which falls under the date of the waiver of the 35 days that was illegally and forcefully collected, which was not paid up till January 13, 2021 the letter was attached. The NPA used ploy to connive with the terminal operators and shipping company to refuse the refund of the COVID 19 waiver,” he said.
Amiwero further called for the setting up of a Federal Government committee made up of the SGF, NPA and NCMDLCA to collect the refund.
On NPA part, a source, who craved anonymity, said the agency is unaware and yet to receive the presidential directive, adding that the agency complies with the government’s order.
The source said the agency is poised to ensure all stakeholders in the maritime sector have a seamless working environment to enable it generate revenue for the economy.
The source assured that the agency would ensure the terminal operators and shipping companies refund the waivers as soon as it gets the directive.
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