Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has said surcharges of data obtained from the Nigerian Shipper’s Council’s confirmation for reasonableness of demurrage charges for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revealed that more than N2 billion is repatriated by multi-national shipping companies in a quarter of a year.
The VP said the process of introduction of these surcharges lack transparency, and are not based on verifiable and available statistics.
Prof Osinbajo revealed this at the One-day Sub-Regional summit on Unfair Shipping Surcharges and High Local Shipping Charges at the Port of West and Central Africa Sub-Region held in Abuja on Monday.
The summit was organised by the Nigerian Shipper’s Council in collaboration with the Union of African Shippers’ Councils and Global Shippers’ themed :”Impact of Unfair shipping surcharges and High Local Shipping Charges on National Economies of West and Central African States”.
He said the unilateral and arbitrary imposition of such surcharges on the West and Central African bound cargo contradicts the norms and ethics of maritime transport.
According to him, the Weat Central African states are currently facing harsh socio-economic conditions that have impacted negatively on trade .
He said the over arching objective of the summit , therefore is for the sub-region to adopt a common position on how to reduce the incidences of unfair surcharges and related issues .
Earlier, the Minister of Transport , Rotimi Amaechi said the federal government through the NSC has been using its influence in the Global Shippers’ Forum (GSF) to resolve cases affecting Nigeria’s trading interest.
He said their actions have often check mate claims terrorism , piracy , armed attacks on ships or other negative events in the Gulf of Guinea to increase charges and introduce new surcharges on shipment to Nigeria .
He called on the West and Central African countries represented by the UASC to come together and adopt common political, diplomatic and operational strategies to checkmate the activities of shipping lines servicing the ports in the sub-region.
Also, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the NSC, Hassan Bello said the UASC must collaborate to remove unfriendly policies or circumstances than provide the opportunities for arbitrary increases of surcharges and local shipping charges .
“Some of the identified surcharges have been prevalent in the sun-region under the various nomenclature such as the Peak Season Surcharge and War Risk Surcharge to mention a few,” he said .