Maritime industry to bubble after presidential election anxiety | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, Maritime

Maritime industry to bubble after presidential election anxiety

Posted: Apr 3, 2015 at 1:29 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Andrew Airahuobhor – Correspondent


Activities in the maritime industry is gradually picking up after Tuesdays announcement of presidential election result was not followed by violence. Tension pervaded the industry before, during and after the election, particularly during the collation of results.

Sources told Daily Independent that activities in government agencies and other operators including Banks in the maritime industry were at a standstill, but will gradually start taking shape now that there was no post election violence as earlier anticipated by many because of uncertainties that trailed the election period.

Port operations were on Monday and Tuesday hampered by early closure of banks following the anxiety that trailed the announcement of the presidential election results. Many importers failed to meet up with payment of duty, levies and other charges on their consignments because banks suddenly worked for half day.

Investigations revealed that the Banks collecting customs duty and other levies closed offices as early as 2 p.m because of the uncertainty surrounding announcement of presidential poll results at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

This inability to make payments heightens fear of consignments being charged for demurrage in a clearance process already sluggish from cumbersome clearance procedures and processes. In the same vein, further delays are a prerequisite for cargo congestion, while consumers brace up to bear the additional costs incurred by importers.

A Customs broker (importers’ representative), Francis Omotosho lamented the half day work by the banks, noting that it has hampered port operations as lots of containers on which payments for duty should have been made have been shifted to the following day.

Public relations officer of Tin Can Island Port command of the Nigeria Customs Service, Chris Osunkwo, told Daily Independent that he has always tried to allay fears of people that there is no post election violence, saying everything is going on smoothly.

He said the command cannot immediately figure out any possible loss in revenue generation “until we assess the situation. And if at the end of the day we check and discover there were payments that ought to have been made that were not made, I will tell you.”

A customs broker; Babatunde Shittu lamented that the banks forced some agencies of government like the Customs and Nigeria Ports Authority to close on time, saying that Customs officers are unable to work because of the banks’ closure. “We believe that after the announcement of the elections everything will go back to normal”, he said.

Shittu noted that the aftermath of presidential polls will have a negative impact on the nation’s economy. He said there is a low operation at both the Tin Can Island Ports and Lagos Ports Complex, and a large number of the operators did not turn up for work, “also I understood that only few people came to work including maritime agencies of the government”.