• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Furniture importers lament excessive charges at Port


Importers of furniture have lamented excessive charges at the Port, blaming this on policy misinterpretation by agents of government. Consequently, they have called on the Federal Government to avert policy summersaults as such has always been very harmful to the national economy.

These were part of the resolutions taken at the end of a two-day national seminar organized by Cargo DefenceFund (CDF) in collaboration with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) for the CKD Furniture Group of Olojo unit in Lagos.

The CKD Furniture Group which demonstrated the capability of having under its umbrella over 700 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with employment capacity of over 10,000 jobs has over the years done import and export businesses in the ‘Dark’ according to Okeke Innocent, chairman of the group in his welcome speech.

This has resulted in the men of the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) feeding very fat on them. According to him, the HS code on what is called Completely Knocked Down furniture otherwise known as CKD furniture has been misinterpreted by the Customs Service officials to mean that importation of furniture parts meant for local assembly is out right violation of the law, having been classified by the Customs as contraband.

“Our worry is that most times you pay through the nose to clear your container at the ports only to find same goods legally cleared at the ports sealed at the warehouse the following day by same Customs who cleared the goods at the port. On each occasion this happens, a lot of money in millions is paid for release of our goods” Okeke lamented.

AzukaOgo, secretary, CDF noted that one of the mandates of CDF included re-examination of financial Import- Export Policies which was one of the reasons why the seminar came into place. According to her, the essence was to seek ways of protecting the interests of Nigerian Shippers. She said that on receiving the complaint of the CKD Furniture group in 2010, her offer went into action to ascertain from the policy makers if the CKD furniture was banned out rightly as touted by the men of the Nigeria Customs but discovered that there has been policy inconsistencies resulting to arbitrary interpretation of the HS code covering CKD furniture. “We also discovered that the group constitutes a lot of SMEs numbering in hundreds with amazing employment ability but they did not know much concerning the policies governing their business. We thought it wise to start by enlightening them on import/export rules and procedures to empower them on policy requirement of their business”,Ogo said.

Cosmos Niagwam, chairman, Nigeria Shippers Council, (NSC) noted that the furniture group must be doing something wrong in the way the importation of the furniture parts is made. According to a short narrative story by him, CKD is all about importing in parts for coupling or assembly with not all the parts loaded in a single container. He used the opportunity to call on the CKD group to adjust and twist their importation style to the side of the law so as to have a free flow with the Customs.