Government to restrict access to seaports, airports from next year
The Minister for Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, who approved this directive said: “For anybody to gain access to the port, he must have proof of business at the port for that day or be a staff member of the port.”
In a letter by the Deputy Director (ICD), Maritime Service Department of the Ministry, Patrick Ekawu, the minister said that as a requirement for access to the ports, freight forwarders must possess the Council for the Regulation for Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) certificate, or an identity card before obtaining the gate pass to operate at the seaports, airports, and land border stations.
The letter, however, declared that the “CRFFN shall collect all monies for the Practitioners Operating Fee (POF) and disburse based on the formula recommended by the committee.”
The directive also forbids the associations from collecting dues within the seaport and airport facilities and land border stations.“From 1st January 2017, the use of biometric cards will be enforced to make for seamless and effective operation at the seaport.
“The representatives of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) are to inform their management on the decisions reached at the meeting for their implementation of Sections 19 (1&2) of the CRFFN Act.
“The NCS will ensure that all licences to be issued or renewed henceforth will first be cleared by CRFFN. The council will prior to issuance ensure full payment of registration, yearly subscription and POF.
“Furthermore, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will direct the Nigerian Aviation Handling Co. Limited (NAHCO), and Sky Aviation Handling Co. Limited (SAHCOL) to comply with the minister’s directive on payment of Practitioners’ Operating Fee and the Nigerian Ports Authority will direct the Seaport Terminal Operators (STOAN) to comply with the directive by ensuring the POF payment as additional requirement for the release of cargo from ports.
“That the port access through biometric card will take effect from 1st January 2017, while the payment of POF will commence with effect from Monday, 24th October 2016,” the letter stated.
Stakeholders had on October 11 met with the minister in Abuja, to look at the recommendations of the report on the investigations of alleged illegal collection of fees at the nation’s seaports, airports and land border stations.
After a heated deliberation on the sharing formula, it was unanimously agreed that 65 per cent of the funds would be for government and 35 per cent for the declarant.
Among the groups that attended the meeting are Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA); and Association of Registered Freight Forwarders, Nigeria (AREFFN).The parties unanimously agreed to amend the caption “Individual Declarant” as contained in the report to read “Declarant.”