The Federal Government is touching all area of the economy with her policies. The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has insisted that the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN) levy being reintroduced by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, be scrapped. Though, Cargo tracking is a global initiative, put in place to monitor and verify cargoes on transit. It is mandatory for all International Maritime Organisation member-countries. In US, it is called 24-hour rule; in Europe it is known as EU Advanced Cargo Declaration; China, 24-hour Advanced Manifest Regulation, etc.
Investigations by Financial Vanguard reveals that the policy was first introduced in Nigeria in 2010 and implemented through the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA. However, it was discarded by the Federal Government in 2013 on the request of the operators in the manufacturing sector due to additional cost to cargo clearances at the ports.
Last year, it was reintroduced and given to NSC for implementation on behalf of the Federal Government via a letter reference no. T.0160/S.30 T4C dated 14th May 2015. President Muhammadu Buhari approved its take-off from November, 3, 2015 at the nation’s ports. Following this, a period of one month starting, from November 3rd to December 3rd, was given to all maritime stakeholders to comply with full registration.
Financial Vanguard learnt that MAN had earlier opposed the bid to reintroduce the Cargo Tracking Note, asserting that the CTN now christened ICTN, if reintroduced, will drive up the cost of cargo clearance at the ports and have a negative trickle-down effect on businesses.
Dr. Frank Jacobs, President of MAN, while giving an update on the contentious issue during MAN annual media luncheon held in Lagos, said NSC should stop pushing the policy.
According to him, as a result of MAN’s protest, government discarded the policy in 2013. “ Now people went through the back door and re-implemented it again.
Remi Ogunmefun, MAN’s Director General, also emphasized that manufacturers in the country are against reintroduction of the CTN as currently crafted until the issue of where the cost burden lies in its implementation is addressed.
However, Mr. Hassan Bello, the Executive Secretary, NSC, disclosed that before approving the ICTN, the Federal Government had seen the enormous revenue leakages that were going on, both in the importation of dry cargoes and the exportation of wet cargoes. Bello said that, apart from blocking revenue leakages, the ICTN is also needed for security reasons.
Bello said that the ICTN does not come with additional cost to importers or exporters, rather the administrative cost is to be paid by the shipping lines, whom he said had for long inputted the cost in the bills they give to consignees in Nigeria. “The shipping lines have been billing importers and exporters for it, and they do not want to let go, they have been hiding such cost on the final bills given to Nigeria importers to pay”, he added.
The ICTN comes out of payments that are already collected or payable per consignment, it is already included as part of the consignee’s payments,” he said. According to him, the administrative cost of implementing the ICTN in Nigeria is very low compared to what is paid in other West and Central African countries. He disclosed that, in some West and Central African nation, they collect as much as 65 Euros per TEU, while the lowest cost is 35Euros.
“The ICTN in Nigeria is different from those being implemented in West and Central Africa, ours is Advance Cargo Declaration that gives you a column where you must put the BAF (Bunker Adjustment Factor) CAF (Currency Adjustment Factor) you must tell us what the surcharge is -whether it is GRI (General Rate Increase) which shipping companies do from time to time and they hide it, when you go for a shipping invoice they will give you a lump sum, it doesn’t tell you what the GRI or what the basic freight is.”
“Here in Nigeria, we are charging $25 per TEU, which is less than a quarter of the 65Euros charged by other countries, but they are not worried about that because they know that Nigeria controls 75 per cent of the cargoes”, he stated.
Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, the founder of NAGAFF, said “the good thing about CTN now is that it attracts no cost. CTN is a global initiative put in place to monitor and verify cargoes on transit. And the initiative has the blessings of the IMO and the World Customs Organisation (WCO), which Nigeria is a member. It has a lot of security and safety values for shippers and other agencies of the government.”
Courtesy: Franklin Alli