The Nigerian Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has condemned the imposition and arbitrary high surcharges by shipping lines in the West and African countries.
Professor Osinbajo tasked the Union of African Shippers Council to adopt common, political and diplomatic strategies to check the operations of shipping lines servicing the ports in the sub-region.
He said this at a one-day Sub-Regional Summit on Unfair Shipping Surcharges and High Local Shipping charges at the Ports of West and Central Africa Sub-Region in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, “These surcharges amount to huge sums of illegal capital flight from the countries of the Sub-Region, depleting their limited foreign exchange/reserves.”
On the harsh socio-economic conditions being faced by the West and Central African States, the Vice President said; “The over arching objective of this summit is for sub-region to adopt a common position on how to reduce the incidences of unfair surcharges and related issues.’’
Professor Osinbajo also said to successfully implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, members states of African Union must as a matter of priority focus on the development of transport infrastructure.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi represented the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibajo at the event.
The Executive Secretary/CEO Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Barrister Hassan Bello called on UASC member states to collaborate to remove unfriendly policies or circumstances that provide opportunities for arbitrary increases of surcharges and local shipping charges.
Bello observed that some of these surcharges which were supposed to be temporary measures have assumed permanence without justification or basis of negotiation.
He noted that increase in charges would not benefit operations or general procedures in the countries, adding that transport should be scientifically, fairly and appropriately priced with the aim of providing balance and equilibrium.
The theme of the event is “Impact of Unfair Shipping Surcharges and High Local Shipping Charges on National Economies and West African States.’’