The Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, commenced moves to stop processing delay and illegal charges on cargo transport by freight agents in the country.
The decision to end multiple charges on cargo processing and transport was reached by the upper chamber in a resolution, following consideration of a motion during plenary on Wednesday.
The motion titled: “The need to streamline Import and Export Cargo Processing in the Aviation Sector” was sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South).
Rising under Order 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, Na’Allah noted with dismay the loss of about N250 billion on agro-export of produce in the country.
According to the lawmaker, the loss which translates to a ratio of 87:13 continues to impact negatively on the country’s economy.
Na’Allah noted that there are about 16 sundry charges for goods coming in or out of the country – with 16 in Lagos and 15 in Abuja – and many of them being unofficial and illegal.
He lamented that loading 100 tons of cargo on aircraft cost around $35,000 in Nigeria, compared to Ghana that cost just about $4000 USD.
He said, “this has caused substantial damage to the Federal Government’s efforts of stimulating Capital Inflow”, adding that, “airlines involved in cargo transport have started avoiding Nigeria in view of the prohibitive charges.”
The Senate, accordingly, mandated the Joint Committees on Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Rural Development, and Aviation and Customs to invite stakeholders and freight agents to come with an acceptable template of processing Nigeria’s imports and exports.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has referred to President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for the confirmation of Engr. Mohammed Sani Baba, representing Bauchi State as Federal Commissioner in the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, to the Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs.
The Committee is expected to screen the nominee and report back to the upper chamber in two weeks.
Also, the President’s request for the confirmation of five nominees as Commissioners in the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission was referred to the Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes.
The nominees for screening include: Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Ekiti (South-West); Mrs. Anne Otelafu Odey, Cross River (South-South); Alh. Goni Ali Gujba, Yobe (North-East); Dr. Louis Solomon Mandama, Adamawa (North-East); and Senator Anthony O. Agbo, Ebonyi).
The Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes Committees were also given two weeks to screen the nominees and report back to the Senate.