By Uche Usim
The Federal Government has assured that planned Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) will not attract any tariff whatsoever, allaying importers fears of possible surcharges when it is eventually introduced.
The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, gave the assurance at the weekend during a meeting with freight forwarders in Lagos.
Bello said there was need to enlighten stakeholders on the innovation, even though it is a business enhancing product that comes to them free of charge.
“Yes, the issue is that we want to introduce a new system, advanced cargo information system, which is called Cargo Tracking Note (CTN). We cannot introduce that project until we introduce it to the stakeholders, and we have started with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). We were with the Comptroller-General of Customs where we introduced it. Customs is very key to the success of that project and I am happy we have introduced it to the Service.
“Customs has been very responsive. So, we have now introduced it to the freight forwarders and they are very vital because they are the practitioners. They have raised one or two questions, which we never contemplated. I don’t know why some people under-estimate freight forwarders. They are critical and Nigerian freight forwarders are a very intelligent group. So, they raised some issues, which we are going to work again to see they are included.
“We are going to the manufacturers association and NACCIMA, trade groups, shippers and of course, carriers, shipping companies and terminal operators. Everybody will be introduced into this project because it is also cardinal to our function as an economic regulator,” Bello explained.
The NSC boss also reassured stakeholders that the innovation will not bring about delay in the cargo clearing process, describing it as an efficiency enhancer.
“They asked whether it won’t cause delay and this is a very vital thing. But we have assured them that it will not occasion delay because it is electronic. The CTN that was introduced about three years ago brought a lot of delay, and it was not accepted by the industry because it had cost attached. But this one is at no cost to the economy and directly, there is no cost at all to the shippers; that is very important. We assured them of this, and showed them the contract we are to sign and sought their input so that we can improve the contract.”
It is at no cost to the Nigerian economy, it is at no cost to the shippers. They want to know how it affects export, especially when others are operating that. And I think we have been able to answer their questions. But the most important thing is that we have formulated our forum with the shippers and the freight forwarders, which will be done every month. So, this is very important. Of course, the meeting will spill over other issues of extreme importance. But they have supported the CTN based on what we explained to them that it has no cost attached,” he explained.
Bello further disclosed that the CTN will do three major things; quicken the process of clearance at the ports in the sense that players have advance information of the arriving cargo.
Source : SunOnline