- 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.”
Segun Opeke is Polaris Bank Executive Director
Polaris Bank Appoints Segun Opeke as Executive Director
Mr. Segun Opeke has been appointed as an Executive Director of Polaris Bank Limited, according to a statement issued by the bank.
The lender said the appointment was made by the bank’s Board of Directors and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
According to the statement, Mr. Opeke has over 26 years of hands-on work experience acquired from leading Nigerian commercial banks with over fifteen of these years in senior and executive management roles.
Until his appointment, Opeke was the Directorate Head, Lagos Business.
“The Lagos Directorate under, his leadership, recorded outstanding growth and contributed significantly to the turnaround of the bank, evidenced by its impressive financial performance recorded in the 2019 financial year.
“Since the CBN intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank Plc in July 2016, Segun has played a prominent role in the Bank’s transformation initiatives and very instrumental to the several milestone achievements of the Bank.
“By this appointment, he is expected to strengthen the bank’s leadership aspirations in the industry leveraging his wealth of experience and contributing greatly to its ongoing corporate transformation programme,” it stated.
Survival Fund: Here is FG’s Timetable for Registration as Portal Opens Today
FG’s Timetable for Survival Fund as Registration Portal Opens Today
The registration portal for the Federal Government’s Survival Fund will be officially opened to prospective beneficiaries at 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020.
According to the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), Laolu Akande, the survival fund would help ease the negative impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and self-employed individuals.
He said “the website https://survivalfund.ng will be open for Nigerians who have MSMEs or who are artisans, plumbers, electricians, transport workers, private school teachers or who belong to different categories under the survival fund.”
On Sunday, the Federal Government released a statement detailing timetable for categories of businesses to register. According to the statement, educational institutions will be the first category of beneficiaries to register on the portal.
“Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday, September 21, 2020.
“In order to ensure a seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office (PDO) has designed a registration schedule.
“Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday, September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
“The portal will also be open to other categories of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday, September 28, 2020,” the statement said.
Federal Government, therefore, advised those whose businesses were impacted by COVID-19 to take note of the schedule and also log on to http://www.survivalfund.ng to register for the payroll support initiative.
The survival fund is a federal government’s conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in paying salaries and safegaurd jobs to prevent further increase in unemployment and cushion falling economic productivity.
For how to access survival fund clicks here
How to Access Survival Fund Through Official Registration Portal
Here is a Detail Break Down of How You Can Access MSMEs Survival Fund
You can now start registering for the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund instituted by the Federal Government to help small businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19.
To access survival fund registration portal log on to https://survivalfund.ng
According to Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President (Office of the Vice President), “Next week, we are starting the survival fund, which is a part of this plan. From next week, it will be available and people who are potential beneficiaries will be able to get more information on https://survivalfund.ng.”
He said from next week, “the website https://survivalfund.ng will be open for Nigerians who have MSMEs or who are artisans, plumbers, electricians, transport workers, private school teachers or who belong to different categories under the survival fund.”
About 45 percent of beneficiaries of the program are expected to be female-owned businesses while 5 percent is allocated to persons with special needs.
The survival fund includes payroll support for three months, and a guaranteed offtake scheme among others, all under the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).
The Federal Government plans to reach around 1.7 million individuals and businesses through the program.
How to Benefit from MSMEs Survival Fund.
To benefit from National MSMEs Survival Fund, your business must:
—Business owner must have a BVN
—Staff strength of not less than 10 for Payroll Support and 3 for GoS.
Eligibility for the survival fund Nigeria
To qualify for Survival Fund Nigeria, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- For employers of MSMEs
- All the beneficiaries companies must be registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
- Must have staff capacity of not less than 3 persons,
- All the eligible enterprises must be owned by a Nigerian and located in Nigeria.
- Must have BVN.
- Self-Employed Individuals in the following categories
- Service Providers in the transportation sector, i.e bus drivers, taxi drivers, ride share drivers (Uber, Bolt. etc) and Mechanics.
- Artisans: Electricians, Plumbers, etc.
Application portal opening date
The portal will open on Monday, 21st September 2020
The MSME Survival Fund registration portal is survivalfund.ng. Registration for the National MSMEs Survival Fund will begin on Monday, 21st September 2020.
MSME Survival Fund Registration Portal & Information.
Under the National Survival Fund is a Payroll Support Scheme, vulnerable registered businesses will be supported in meeting their payroll obligations of between N30,000 to N50,000 per employee to safeguard the jobs of a maximum of 10 employees over a 3-month period.
In addition to registered businesses, the National MSMEs Survival Fund will also cater to a second category of Nigerians: the Self-employed, including:
- Service providers in the transportation sector, i.e. Bus/Taxi drivers, Rideshare drivers, Auto-Mechanics
- Artisans (Electricians Plumbers etc).
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