From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
Executive chairman of Apapa chapter, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Forwarder Ndubuisi Uzoegbo, recently distributed relief materials and protective items against Coronavirus to workers at the Apapa Port in Lagos State.
He was accompanied to the Port by Mr. Johnmary C.N. Anagolu, the CEO, E and C Logistics Limited, and other senior staff of the port.
Uzoegbo said that he deemed it proper to distribute the items to essential workers owing to the fact that the risk of spread of Coronavirus through the port is very high.
Uzoegbo lamented on the loss of revenue that the lockdown has caused, adding that he is very annoyed because of what is happening at the port.
He said: “I am very annoyed because of what is happening at the port. The Federal government want us to work, most especially those that are into essential clearing like pharmaceutical products, food and beverages. But now the people at the port has turned it to their business looking for who will pay them heaven and earth. The banks are not working, if you go round Apapa, you will discover that most banks are not working. How do we operate? Even the goods we are bringing out, where are we taking them to? You cannot do transfer from bank to bank”.
He said that they got a memo from the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), that shipping companies should grant them waiver, but such order has not been implemented. He said: “we are freight forwarders, we are working on five per cent capacity. We got a memo from NPA, saying that the shipping companies should grant freight forwarders waiver for the first 14 days of the lockdown. Now, it is 28 days, the waiver must be extended.
“Most of the shipping companies have maintained that NPA has not consulted them, and they are private establishments. There should be a Presidential Order. Shipping companies must not collect demurrage for the period the lockdown would last, to enable the people who owns these cargos to clear them from the port,” Uzoegbo stated.
On his part, Uzobude Peter Paul, the Joint Taskforce Chairman Apapa 1, applauded the effort of the Chairman, saying that he has remained a powerful man who is doing his best and carrying people along.
He said: “The NAGAFF chairman has been trying his best. When they appointed him the Chairman of NAGAFF, people were very happy. Coming here today to ensure that workers here are well protected against the Coronavirus is a bold step well taken”.
In his own account, Mr. Anagolu posited that the Custom Officers on duty were trying and doing their best irrespective of the Coronavirus pandemic. He lamented that carrying out transaction for clearing has remained their major challenge because most banks are not working.
He appealed to the federal government to talk to the banks so that duty for cargos can be paid.