The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday decried alleged involvement of several units of the Nigeria Customs Service in cargo interception and clearance processes at Lagos ports, urging Federal Government’s urgent intervention.
In a communiqué it issued in Lagos, LCCI said that the trend was creating problems for importers and investors.
“The LCCI seeks the urgent intervention of the Federal Government to stop the disruption that the numerous customs units are creating for importers within and outside the ports.
“This practice is a negation of the ease of doing business agenda of the government; it is hurting investors.
“Delays lead to huge demurrage paid by importers to shipping companies and terminal operators, and also affect the production cycle of manufacturers with implications for cost escalation,” the chamber said in the communique signed by its Director-General, Mr Muda Yusuf, and President, Mr Babatunde Ruwase.
The LCCI issued the communique at the end of the bimonthly meeting its council.
The chamber also expressed concern over the role of maritime police in the clearance of cargo in Lagos ports.
“There are reports of frequent obstruction of release of cargo by maritime police, even when the release has been duly authorised by statutory agencies charged with the responsibility of cargo examination.
“The LCCI calls on the inspector-general of police to urgently intervene to redress the situation in the interest of the Nigerian economy,” it said.
It added that the chamber had received complaints of undue delay in the issuance of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) to importers.
“The delays create a bottleneck which makes the PAAR administration process vulnerable to corrupt practices.
“The LCCI, therefore, calls on the comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service to investigate incessant delays in the release of PAAR and the associated transparency issues,” it said.
It also urged the government to address the perennial gridlock on the Apapa area of Lagos which, it said, was negatively affecting the economy of Lagos State and the entire Nigeria.
The LCCI equally expressed concern over increase in the rate of building collapse across the country, and called for a thorough investigation into it as well as sanction for anyone found culpable.
It urged governments to pay more attention to the approval processes for building construction and quality of personnel and building materials.
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The LCCI said that governments should ensure that only professionals would be involved in building.
It also urged reduction in the cost of building materials through tariff review.
The LCCI called on the Federal Government to ensure macro-economic stability and effectively tackle security challenges in some parts of the country.
It added that the government should scale up commitment to the Ease of Doing Business and reduce business operating costs and governance cost.
The chamber urged the government to prioritise reform in the oil and gas sector through the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, adding that the government should fix power and prioritise infrastructure development.