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Importers, Cargo Handlers Fight as Demurrage Hits N2bn



Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
  • Importers, Cargo Handlers Fight as Demurrage Hits N2bn

Many importers were dumbfounded following the imposition of demurrage on their goods despite knowing that the COVID-19 lockdown enforced by the Federal Government had prevented them from clearing their goods since March.

According to our checks, goods worth billions of naira brought into the country since March remained in the warehouse of cargo handlers and have accumulated storage fees of over N2 billion.

At a daily storage fee of about N12 per kilo, some of the cargoes had accumulated storage fees in excess of N4 million during the five weeks they had been in storage.

Speaking on the situation, the Managing Director, Skynet Worldwide, a major courier service provider, Tayo Ogundare, said, “Since the lockdown, our goods have been in the warehouses at the airport. The Customs were not working; the airport staff were not working.

“There are billions of naira worth of goods in the warehouses. Importers cannot access their goods now that the lockdown has been lifted because the handling companies are asking for demurrage.

“The Federal Government should intervene and waive the demurrage. There are people that have 20,000 kilogrammes, 3,800 kg and other cargo weights in the warehouses. Some of them will pay up to N3m; others, N4m or more in demurrage if it is not waived.”

The Logistics Manager, Smile Communications, a leading Internet service provider, Danjuma Okeme, said, “We shipped our network-related items before the lockdown.

“We were in the process of clearing them; we had to go to Apapa to pay the Customs duty since the banks at the airport were not open.

“The agency needed just one or two documentation to complete the clearing process before the lockdown.”

Okeme whose company has more than three tonnes of routers stuck in the warehouses insisted that the cargo was a special duty cargo that was not supposed to be affected by the lockdown.

He said, “Now the line is handicapped and we cannot service our customers.

“The situation is affecting our network. Customers are calling from everywhere because everything, including schools, is now online.

“It is a pity that at this critical time, Smile cannot stand for its customers. Some people have gone ahead and paid for the service, but we cannot work because our equipment is in the warehouse.”

According to him, if demurrage should be calculated on the cargo belonging to the firm, it will have to pay over N4m for the period.

He said, “I think the government should call a stakeholders’ meeting and let everybody know that during lockdown or war, people are not supposed to pay any kind of demurrage,” he said.

Another agent and a member of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, Kayode Agimati, pointed out that the lockdown was not the fault of the cargo owners, saying that the Federal Government had asked people to stay at home and away from the airports.

He said, “When the lockdown was lifted, we were expecting to be told to pay the handling charges. We did not expect them to ask us for demurrage on the cargo that we could not clear during the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, all the warehouses at the airport were locked and nobody could clear goods.”

He said some of his clients’ goods had accumulated N2.4m while others had accumulated N800,000 and more in demurrage.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Buhari Doubles Npower Beneficiaries to 1 Million, Increase GEEP by 1 Million, School Feeding by 5 Million



Sadiya Farouq

In an effort to speed up the process of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to double the number of Npower beneficiaries from the old 500,000 to 1 million.

The President also instructed the ministry to increase the number of beneficiaries of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) by another 1 million and expand the beneficiaries of the Home-Grown School Feeding by 5 million.

Sadiya Farouq, the Ministery disclosed this on Monday during a ministerial media briefing in Abuja.

She said: “In a bid to realise Mr. President’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, the ministry places significant emphasis on youth empowerment by strategically ascertaining youth engagement as a foundational objective in implementing the following strategies: double the scope of the National Social Investment Programmes.

“Mr. President has graciously approved the expansion of all NSIP programmes. Such as increase of N-Power beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000, increase GEEP beneficiaries by 1,000,000 and increase of beneficiaries of Home-Grown School Feeding by 5,000,000.”

This was coming a few days after the ministry through the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria launched NEXIT for the Batch A and B exited Npower beneficiaries to apply for the apex bank job options. For a detailed breakdown of how to register for NEXIT, click here.

Speaking on the success of the National Social Register, the minister said around 3.7 million households comprising of more than 15.5 million individuals have been captured so far.

In championing Social Inclusion, deliberate efforts were made to capture vulnerable youth and groups which included Women, People with Special Needs, in the expansion of the National Social Register by one million households. Also, in the Economic Sustainability Plan, we have over 1,000,000 urban poor in the National Social Register.

“As of June 2020, 4.41 per cent of the total number of individuals captured in the National Social Register are recognised as persons with special needs. This comes to a total of 685,090 persons with special needs in the National Social Register.

“About 3.7 million households comprising of more than 15.5 million Individuals have been captured on the National Social Register. Of that number, over 2.8 million of the households which comprise of 13.5 million individuals are eligible for Conditional Cash Transfer. This numbers are spread across the 36 states and FCT. The numbers are further broken down to 7.6 million males and 7.9 million females as shown on the screen,” she said.

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Access Bank Seals Seplat Petroleum Headquarters Over Debt



seplate to announce financial results on July 29, 2020

Access Bank Plc on Thursday sealed the building in which Seplat Corporate Headquarters is located at 16 A Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in connection to a loan Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc claimed were obtained by Cardinal Drilling Services Limited, a third party providing drilling services to Seplat.

In a statement quickly put out by Seplat, the company said while it understands that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank, Seplat is not a shareholder of Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank.

The statement reads in part, “We understand that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank. However, SEPLAT is neither a shareholder in Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank and did not at any time make any commitments or guarantees in respect of Cardinal Drilling’s loan obligations to Access Bank.

“SEPLAT strongly believes that there is no merit or justification for this action against it and has taken prompt legal action to vacate the court order pursuant to which the building was sealed. This action was taken by Access Bank without any prior notice to SEPLAT, as required under Nigerian law.

“SEPLAT will vigorously defend against this improper action to the full extent of the law and will seek all appropriate legal remedies.”

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COVID-19: Demand for Second Passport by High Net Worth Individuals Surges 50 Percent



african union passport

The number of high net worth individuals looking for a second international passport in order to improve their global access rose by 50 percent year-on-year, according to the latest statement from the deVere Group.

The group said national lockdowns, borders and travel restrictions have helped boost enquiries for second passports, citizenships and overseas residencies this year.

deVere Group, an independent financial advisory firm, that manages over 100,000 clients globally said demand for its residency and citizen service skyrocketed in this highly unusual year.

Most of the enquiries were from high net worth individuals from the U.S., India, South Africa, Russia, the Middle East and East Asia “who are seeking alternative options in Europe and the Commonwealth.”

According to Nigel Green, the Founder and CEO of deVere Group, “Previously, a second passport, citizenship or residency were regarded by many as the ultimate luxury item; a status symbol like yachts, supercars and original artwork.

“While this still remains the case, there’s also been a shift due to the pandemic.

“Now, second citizenship or overseas residency are increasingly becoming not just a ‘nice to have accessory’ but a ‘must have.’

“Whether it be for personal reasons, such as to remain with loved ones overseas or be able to visit them, or for business reasons, a growing number of people are seeking ways to secure their freedom of movement as they have faced travel restrictions which are, typically, based on citizenship.”

He continues: “The pandemic has served as a major catalyst for demand which skyrocketed this year. It has focused minds to secure that second passport or elite residency.

“However, the appeal for is broader than just the global Covid-19 crisis.

“Increasingly people prefer the concept of being a global citizen, rather than being solely tied to the country of their birth.

“They too value the many associated benefits including visa-free travel, world-class education, optimal healthcare, political and economic stability, reduced tax liabilities and wider business and career opportunities.”

However, nations have different criteria for granting citizenship, including time spent in the country, the ability to prove the legal source of funds and zero criminal records.

For instance, Portugal’s residency program requires just two weeks every two years of residency to gain the benefits, including the right to live, work, study and open a business there, as well as travel across the 26 countries of Europe’s Schengen area.

“More and more nations are running citizenship-by-investment programs, in which applicants invest an amount of money in a sponsoring country typically in high-end, new-build real estate developments in exchange for permanent residency, citizenship, or both,” affirms James Minns, deVere’s Head of Residency & Citizenship.

“These programmes, which high-net-worth individuals regard as invaluable insurance, are typically based on property investments that start from 250,000 EUR.”

Nigel Green concludes: “These highly unusual times have fuelled the surge in demand for second passports.

“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus what really matters to people: family, freedom and security.”

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