NLNG to NIMASA: Refund our $315m

By Ajibola Abayomi




The Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Limited has formally issued a demand notice for $315,598,823.29 judgment debt to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)

The NLNG said that the sum represented the payments it made under protest to the agency since 2013, as well as direct and shipping losses it incurred due to the initial two-day blockade of the Bonny Channel by NIMASA in May 2013

It said the development followed the decision on October 3, 2017 by the Federal High Court, Lagos that the NLNG was not liable to make the said payments to NIMASA, and that all such payments already made by it to NIMASA should be repaid forthwith

The firm stated in a statement that the court, presided over by Justice Mohammed Idris, further held that NIMASA was wrong in blockading the Bonny Channel for the purpose of enforcing the payments against the NLNG

The General Manager, External Relations, NLNG, Dr . Kudo Eresia-Eke, said, “The Federal High Court ruling transcends being simply a legal victory for the NLNG

It must be viewed for what it really is: A resounding message from Nigeria to the global investment community

“The message is that we can be trusted to keep our sovereign word and that Nigeria remains open for business, partnership and investments,” he added

NIMASA had alleged that NLNG was liable to pay three per cent gross freight levy on its international inbound and outbound cargo, Sea Protection Levy; two per cent cabotage surcharge as well as other sundry claims, all of which the NLNG disputed

The NLNG in 2013 led the case at the Federal High Court against NIMASA, seeking a judicial determination on, among other things, the legality or otherwise of the levies sought to be imposed on the NLNG by NIMASA, and the consequent blockade of the Bonny Channel by NIMASA and its agents as a result of the dispute

However, speaking with the Deputy Director, New Communication of NIMASA, Isichie Osamgbi over the development he said that the Agency would appeal the judgment

He maintained that NIMASA would not fi le an appeal to repeal the judgement of the court



Agents kick as shipping lines introduce new charge, knocks council
Operators in the freight forwarding subsector of the maritime industry have lampooned the Nigerian Shippers’ Council for being docile as Shipping Lines have allegedly introduced a new charge through the back door

Port Additional Destination charge was said to have been introduced few days ago without consultation with the shippers or their agents, the disappointed operators Shippers’ Council which has the statutory duty to protect shippers interest, have failed in their roles

According to a document reflecting the charge, made available to our correspondent in Lagos confirmed the new charges on TEU

The document from CMA CGM Shipping Nigeria Limited dated October 10th 2017 revealed that a twenty feet container on charge description cost N38,000 while for a forty feet container is N76,000

Speaking on the development, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mickey Excellency Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Abdulazeez Babatunde said that the Shippers Council had failed the operators over their incompetence to play its regulatory role

Babatunde, a former Chairman of Association Electoral Committee (ASECO) of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) stated that shippers are being coerced to pay arbitrary charges without government intervention

The customs broker maintained that in the last three weeks, shipping line agencies have been known for arbitrary charges on boxes, pointing out that the primary aim of the council was to protect and mediate on behalf of the shippers

Babatunde said, “Nigerian Shippers Council is an agency of the government that gets subvention to protect the interest of importers and exporters “ “Right under the Council’s watch the shipping companies are increasing their charges arbitrarily,without a word from the council “ He further noted that despite the council ‘s appointment as port economic regulator, it can best be described as a toothless bulldog, that cannot bite

When asked about the position of ANLCA on the newly introduced charges, Alhaji Babatunde stressed that the association would engage relevant bodies on how to address the issue over the cost

Meanwhile, some of the freight agents operating at the Apapa port frowned at the development even as they called on the Council to intervene

However, the Director of Special Duties and Public Affairs of the NSC, Chief Ignatius Nweke could not immediately respond to the text sent to him as at the time of fi ling this report

But an insider sources who preferred anonymity told our correspondent that the Council was aware of the new charge and was working on it, saying that shipping companies have been asked to revert back to status quo

“The charge is not that new ,it’s been there for two to three months now

Why are the freight forwarders just raising alarm ? We have heard of it and taken those steps but till a positive results come out of the steps we are not supposed to make noise about it

“sources disclosed


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