By Joy Enamuna
- ANLCA ready to instigate Court action
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has explained that it deactivated the Five-Star Logistics terminal access to its portal due to an unpaid assessment which is over N90million, even as talks are ongoing to resolve the conflict.
The problem became a major dilemma on Friday as freight agents cried out, but findings have shown that the terminal’s access to Customs portal has been blocked for almost two weeks.
Meanwhile, there are concerns that it could become more worrisome as huge economic losses will be recorded by shippers and their freight agents who already decry untold hardship with the current state of affairs at the nation’s ports.
Speaking on behalf of the Customs Area Comptroller of Tin Can Island Port, Comptroller Olakunle Oloyede, the Public Relations Officer of the Command, Uche Ejisieme said the major problem is that government’s much-needed revenue is stuck at Five Star terminal.
“The revenue of the federal government is hanging and I believe that NCS headquarters must have profiled the terminal and issued series of warnings to this terminal to draw their attention to their unpaid assessment before blocking them from assessing the Customs portal.”
“We are appealing to Importers and Agents to exercise a little patience because the issue would be resolved within the best possible time. Nevertheless, we can’t be talking about trade facilitation when government revenue in excess of N90million is hanging. Customs hold Five-Star Logistics in high esteem. This company is one of the major stakeholders at the ports.”
Noting that this is the first time such occurrence is happening, the Tin Can Customs spokesman said that about 30% of Customs revenue is from clearing of cars and the Service has an obligation to push hard in the bid to recoup government’s money.
Meanwhile, the Tin Can Island Chapter Chairman, Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON), Mr. Emeka Nwosu revealed that the problem had been lingering for over one week.
His words: “For the past six to seven days, we haven’t been able to pick vehicles from Five Star Logistics, when APFFLON approached the management of the terminal, they told us that those vehicles have entered Nigerian markets and that the vehicles are from Cotonou, a neighbouring country”.
While emphasising the tough economic implication of the development, Nwosu lamented that freight forwarders are at the receiving end of the fiscal consequences, yet, they don’t know how to handle the matter at the moment.
On the other hand, the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has issued a one-week ultimatum to the terminal operator to get the matter resolved or meet the association in court.
The Tin Can Customs spokesman, however, has implored Custom Brokers to calm down as dialogue is ongoing to settle the conflict.
Untill the time of gathering this report, all efforts to reach the Five Star Logistics PRO was futile.