Nigeria Loses N150bn Annually To Foreign Shipping Surcharges
The Nigerian economy is losing N150bn yearly to multiple surcharges slammed on Nigeria-bound cargoes by foreign shipping companies.
This was the result of a study released in Abuja on Monday, at a one-day sub-regional summit tagged, ‘Unfair Shipping Surcharges and High Local Shipping Charges at the Ports of West and Central Africa’, which was organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council under the auspices of the Union of African Shippers’ Council.
The study indicated that the number of multiple surcharges on Nigeria-bound cargo and the estimated loss to the Nigerian economy due to additional ‘Local Shipping Charges’ on imports exceeded N150bn in a year.
The surcharges were listed as bunker adjustment factor; currency adjustment factor; war risk surcharge; congestion surcharge and peak season surcharge.
Others are extra risk insurance surcharge, freight rates surcharge and port operations recovery surcharge.
Speaking at the summit, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, bemoaned the process of the introduction of the surcharges, which he noted as lacking transparency and not based on verifiable and available resources.
According to him, the surcharges amount to illegal capital flight from Nigeria and the other West and Central African countries.
He said, “These surcharges amount to huge sums of illegal capital flight from the countries of the sub-region depleting their limited foreign exchange/reserves.”
He said over N2bn was repatriated by multinational shipping companies within a quarter of a year.
The vice president further stated that the introduction of surcharges without consultation contradicted the norms and ethic of maritime transportation.
He however advised that the sub-region must at the summit adopt a common position on reduction of incidence of unfair surcharges and related issues.