The General Manager, Eastern Ports, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Etom Sotonye, on Friday, said that Nigeria loses huge revenue annually from the conflict between NPA and shipping companies.
Sotonye, who spoke at a public enlightenment workshop organised for stakeholders in the maritime industry, said that there had been conflicts and misunderstanding between the two parties occasioned by non-payment of port rates and dues.
The general manager said the conflict, which often resulted in litigations, had inflicted financial constraints on the country’s economy.
He said the solution to the dispute rest on the amicable settlement of the conflict as litigation took several years.
Sotonye said the conflict was caused by ignorance or deliberate refusal of shipping companies to pay rates and dues.
He warned that any company or individual that failed to conform to NPA’s rules and regulations would be sanctioned.
He said that three-quarters of the goods shipped to Contonu, Benin Republic and later brought into Nigeria through the land were contraband.
He said apart from contraband goods, the owners of the goods dodged payment of rates and dues to the NPA.
Sotonye recalled that the practice had reached a climax which compelled officials of Nigeria Customs to raid cars shops in Lagos and imposed charges on the smuggled vehicles.
``All NPA statutory dues must be paid; all ships must come to ports to anchor and not midstream or offshore,” Sotonye said.
He said the NPA had appointed experts to monitor vessels that sneaked into the country to discharge goods illegally without paying the necessary port dues.
Also speaking, Samuel Eke, Acting General Manager, Compliance and Regulatory Services, said the authority had a standard punishment for erring shipping companies.
``Any ship that comes into Nigeria must pay Stevedog (dock workers); you must pay the labour whether you use them or not, otherwise, they will go on strike.