EU Water Assisted Cargo: NSC Saves Over 18M for 3 State Governments & Recovers 9 SUV vehicles donated by EU
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council through its Complaints Unit has saved the sum of N18,637,188.00 (Eighteen Million, Six Hundred and Thirty-Seven Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty-Eight Naira) only for Adamawa, Ekiti and Plateau states as accrued shipping demurrage to Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Denca Bonded Terminals on six (6) Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), donated by the European Union for Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme Phase 111 in the country. The cargo came with a bill of lading number: MSCUW9329407 with accrued terminal demurrage of over N12 Million storage charges domiciled in Denca Bonded Terminal.
In a formal complaint received via the Council’s North Central Zonal Coordinating Office Jos, Plateau State requesting the Council’s intervention, the Plateau State Project Director, Ministry of Water Resources and Energy, Engr. Jonathan Malann, stated that the National Authorizing Officer (NAO), Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning awarded the contract for the supply and delivery of nine (9) Project vehicles (3 for each states).
Malann said the vehicles arrived Apapa port on the 4th of December 2018 from Port of Durban, but “due to logistic challenges between the consignee (Ministry of Budget and National Planning) and port operators, the vehicles could not be cleared and delivered to the project beneficiary States.” he said.
However, in order to resolve the complaint amicably, a tripartite meeting involving all the parties (consignee, Creseda International Limited, Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Denca Bonded Terminal) was organized by the Complaints Unit. Deliberating on the complaint, the head of the Unit, Mr. Moses Fadipe, who is also a Deputy Director in the Council, asked the Complainant to shed more light on the complaint, the representative of the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning Mr Ikem Azubuike stated that they had an agreement with the European Union (EU) and the Federal Government of Nigeria that all cargo that is to assist the Society or Nation should be taxed free, as a result the European Union reduced the cost of the contract to a minimal level. Azubuike further stated that the contract was given to Creseda International Company as the clearing agents.
Also responding, Creseda International Company stated that when they received the original bill of lading, it was returned for endorsement, and when the Shipping Company issued a debit note, the consignee requested for a waiver, he said.
In a tripartite meeting organized by the Council to amicably resolve the complaint, the head of the Unit, Mr. Moses Fadipe, informed the tripartite meeting that Nigerian Shippers’ Council does not go into waiver because the Port Terminal are run by private entities and are profit making ventures, hence there is the need for them to recoup cost incurred on safe keeping, space occupied, and other overhead expenses. He further stated that the Council is mandated to ensure all Government cargoes for National projects are given special attention for the Nation to take advantage of the kind gesture of the donor, hence their request for 80% waiver from both the terminal and the shipping company.” He said.
Fadipe however reminded the parties at the meeting of a letter from the Technical Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Finance conveying approval from the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria that ‘to Unit Export Limited of Great Britain for exemption from payment of import duty, VAT and other ports charges…’ The Presidential approval is granted in line with Article 31.2 (e) of the Revised Cotonou Agreement between the European Union and Africa Caribbean and Pacific countries on the tax and customs arrangements. It is valid for a period of one year, with effect from 7th February 2019; this is however, subject to strict compliance with Section 43 of the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1958 (as amended), the contravention of which shall be penalized in accordance with Sub Section 3 thereof’
Both the Shipping Company and the Terminal Operator offered 80% and 50% waivers to the European Union, which enabled the affected the States take delivery of their Project cargo.
Expressing their appreciation to the Council on behalf of the affected states, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources and Energy, Plateau state Dr Ezekiel Pam, commended the Shippers’ Council on their prompt intervention in resolving the complaint ‘we believe strongly that your effort towards sanitizing the Nigeria Ports Operations will certainly yield in creating and promoting a conducive environment for port administration in Nigeria’ he said.