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Customs plans auction of overtime cargoes at ports soon


Terminal operators fret over non-payment of 25% statutory charge
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has begun arrangement to place some of the overtime cargoes at ports for auction in the next “few weeks.”

Cargoes are classified as overtime when they have stayed in the ports for 28-30 days without clearing and delivery.

However, the terminal operators, under the aegis of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), have accused the Customs of denying them the 25 per cent statutory charge of the value of auctioned containers.

Public Relations Officer, NCS, Joseph Attah, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday, said: “Any moment from now, the auction committee will begin the upload of overtime goods for auction.”

Attah, who denied the allegation of shortchanging the terminal operators, said that since the NCS introduced the e-auction platform, only seized goods had been auctioned so far and 25 per cent is not from every auction but only that of overtime cargoes.

He confirmed that the Customs would begin the auction of overtime cargoes in “a matter of weeks from now.”

Meanwhile, the terminal operators, who also condemned the impunity and lack of transparency by Customs in the auction exercise, lamented that for several years, the agency had failed to keep to the agreement, which mandated it to pay a 25 per cent charge from the value of all auctioned containers in the country.

Spokesman for STOAN, Bolaji Akinola, told The Guardian that container terminals incurred huge costs associated with the handling of overtime containers, especially with the positioning of containers selected by Customs for auctioning without any commensurate benefit even after such containers are auctioned.

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