Lagos Airport Clearing Agents Commence Indefinite Strike Over New Charges By Customs



Clearing agents operating at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, today embarked on indefinite strike over the introduction of a new policy by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Lagos Airport Command.

The refusal of agents to clear goods at the airport paralysed clearing activities at the nation’s number one airport.

The clearing agents accused the Command of imposing skyrocketing charges on them for the clearance of consignments at the airport.

The clearing agents stated that they were protesting against the directive from the Customs Area Comptroller (CAC), MMA Command, Mrs. Jayne Shoboiki, that all consignments must be on Form M beginning from July 13, 2018.

The angry clearing agents argued that the policy was anti-progress, adding that some of the consignments could not come with Form M as they were not major goods.

A member of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Mr. Chris Nwabuzor, who spoke to our correspondent on the issue, stated that most of the policies introduced by the CAC would not work at the airport, as some of their consignments do not fall into the category the Command is referring to.

AbelNews observed that immediately the protest began, Customs officials at the command locked the long room while top ANLCA officials ordered their members to leave the premises.

As a result, clearing agents under the umbrella of ANLCA at the Lagos Airport have began an indefinite strike to register their displeasure and grievances, vowing that they would not resume clearing of consignments until their grievances were addressed by the command.

According to Nwabuzor, “Since this new CAC came onboard, it has been from one crisis to the other. Initially, she claimed that customs introduced new system, which would enhance clearance of cargo at the airport, but with several challenges. In fact, most of the consignments we were supposed to clear entered demurrage in the process.”

He continued, “Today again, the command sent out a circular that as from July 13, 2018, which is two weeks from now, all consignments, must be on Form M, which is not possible. Form M are for huge consignments, but some of our consignments do not fall into that category. For instance, if you want to clear one kilogramme goods now, it must be on Form M. Even, at the seaport, car importation and clearance does not fall under Form M. how come goods of just one kilogramme and more will now fall under this category.”

Reacting, the Command Spokesman, confirmed the circular, but said it was not for immediate implementation.

He however, explained that the command had new machines, which was installed recently, adding that the system recognises only those information.

According to him, “We have not given any deadline, we just issued them a circular today (Monday) informing them that from July 13, they should make sure all their consignments coming into the country are on Form M.”

“We ought to have commenced the policy immediately, but they complained that some of the consignments were already ordered and we gave them enough time to plan ahead,” he added.



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