Months after the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) greenlit the establishment of export processing terminals (EPTs) with the aim of bolstering the nation’s agro-export sector, exporters are voicing their discontent over the unexpected financial burden brought on by these terminals.
In 2022, the NPA gave its stamp of approval to five export-processing terminals, heralding what was anticipated to be a boon for the country’s agricultural exports.
Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NPA, made this announcement during the public presentation of export processing terminal licenses in Lagos. He outlined that, under the new directive, agro-export cargo arriving at the ports from Lagos and Ogun states would only be granted access through one of the five designated EPTs.
Bello-Koko wasrepresented at the event by Mr. Onari Brown, the Executive Director of Marine and Operations, also noted that export containers originating from Domestic Export Warehouses situated throughout the country would be received by the authority, as long as they adhered to the traffic management protocols established by the Lagos State Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authority.
However, the optimism surrounding the introduction of these export processing terminals has been dampened by concerns raised by industry players.
Mr. Wasiu Lawal, the Chief Executive Officer of LWL Concept, shared his thoughts during a conversation with PUNCH in Lagos. Lawal revealed, “We are now required to pay N34,600 for the privilege of utilizing the EPT.
In the event of a missed vessel departure and the need to validate, an additional N30,000 must be paid to the shipping company. This is in contrast to the past when we incurred no additional charges beyond the standard terminal fees of N65,000 and local charges of N35,000.
It’s evident that the introduction of the new EPT is causing an unexpected financial burden, making it an extra cost for us.
“These concerns expressed by exporters highlight the need for careful consideration of the impact of new policies and initiatives on the various stakeholders involved in the agro-export supply chain. Balancing the goal of boosting agro exports with the financial realities faced by exporters remains a challenge that requires ongoing attention and dialogue between industry players and regulatory authorities.