Shippers will not be charged more for CTN, NSC promises

Shippers will not be charged more for CTN, NSC promises

Kathy Kyari 
The Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC) has told the Manufacturers' Association of Nigeria (MAN) that Nigerian shippers will not shoulder the weight of costs, despite worries regarding the negative economic implications of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN)'s reinstatement.

This guarantee was given by the NSC Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, on Monday in Lagos during a meeting in his office with a delegation from MAN, led by its former Vice President, Mr. John Aluya, and the Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, who spoke on behalf of the Director-General.

Jime assured the association that the CTN's reinstatement was not a threat, he assured. “not fundamentally different from the previous operations of the system,” adding that “the cost-implication this time has been located in a way that does not cause dramatic damage as far as the economy is concerned.”

He claims that, it is the belief of the Nigerian Shippers' Council that this expense will not be borne by the Nigerian shipper, and believes that this is the key to understanding this.

“In the course of implementation, as nothing is perfect, especially when you are just starting, I believe we will see areas where there will be need for some twerking, and if that happens, we will be more than happy to address as the situations arrive. In the moment, I think the benefits far outweigh whatever disadvantages there may be".  

Jime emphasized that considering the immense benefits that will result, the cost would actually be extremely small. He also noted that this cost actually has always been in shipping charge, and it is not something really new, while listing the anticipated gains.

“Beyond that, and most importantly, is to look at the real impact that this is going to have on the Nigerian economy, especially in the area of securing a nation, a lot more than we have done in the past.

“Part of the challenge we have had here is the proliferation of small arms around the country, some of which have actually found their way through the port, the reason being that we have not actually put a tool, like what we have now, that would enable us detect from the get-go of such consignments.

“If you put that side-by-side the minimal increase that this is going to bring, I think it will make more sense that we should be able to provide a secure environment that enables business to flourish. No one actually wants to do business in an environment of chaos, where there is insecurity. That is the balance we have to input in this discussion.”. 

The ability to deal with crude theft, which is also a significant issue in terms of the nation's resources, was highlighted by Jime as another factor that needed to be considered.

“I don’t really have the data, but it is not rocket science that the amount of crude that is stolen is sufficient to cause the kind of development that will develop our nation. These are some of the balancing factors that this is going to bring.”

Another reason for its reinstatement, according to Jime, is the phenomena of under-declaration, which also has a detrimental effect on the economy. He added that all of these derivable benefits balance out certain cost-derivatives and whatever very slight gain the economy will experience.

Oruche had earlier informed Jime that MAN was still against the CTN's return since the company had previously believed that it would have a detrimental impact on the economy and had already been incorporated into the cost of shipping. He clarified that the 2012 ban was due to this position.

He said that if it had ever been used prior to the suspension, shippers had not been charged for it until its return, therefore if the shipping lines had already incorporated it into other charges, they should continue to bear the cost.

“They should not in any way transfer the cost of CTN to manufacturers or importers, because that will also have a negative impact on the economy. We are talking about the inflation rate: last month the rate increased, so, if you introduce more costs, what will happen to consumers?

“You and I will bear the brunt while foreigners are enjoying the money. So, that is why we are saying, let the charges remain as they are, even with the reintroduction of the CTN, or even reduce.”

During the time that Mr. Hassan Bello served as NSC Executive Secretary, he clarified, it was strongly and convincingly argued that the CTN was already included in the freight charges, and therefore would not be paid for by the importer/exporter, as this was not permitted for export before the implementation was suspended.

He claims that MAN further protested to the shipping lines routinely shifting the responsibility to the shippers, to which the NSC replied that it would be in control as the body in charge of setting freight rates.

According to MAN, Nigeria was already too expensive and, rather than from operating as the centre for West African shippers, she is becoming so uncompetitive that minor nations, like the Benin Republic, were being used by landlocked nations to import their goods.

After the meeting, Mr. Aluya, who is also a member of the NSC's board but represented MAN there, answered questions from reporters, explaining that each issue of this sort has its own costs and that because the nation's port infrastructure is already overburdened, MAN does not want new costs introduced. 

“Where it is going to be introduced, let it be very marginal because the manufacturers’ ultimate aim is to make sure that Nigeria becomes the hub of West African sub-region, and if our cost keeps going up, we will be driving the landlocked countries from using our port.

“We don’t pay these bills directly, it is the ultimate consumer that pays the bill, but it is our duty to protect that ultimate consumer by making sure that our products are competitive.”

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