Nigerian importers have been made to pay N16 billion container deposit fees annually since 2018 by foreign ship-owners, translating to N48 billion in the last three years, LEADERSHIP checks have revealed.
Inside sources regard the payment as a loss and capital flight when, indeed, the importers can insure their containers with local underwriters for a cumulative premium of about N2 billion annually.
The money paid by importers as container deposit fees ought to be repaid to the importers upon returning the containers, but because the containers are always returned four or more days after receipt, of which the delay is attributed to Apapa gridlock, the foreign ship-owners have failed to refund them.
To this end, LEADERSHIP findings showed that the importers, under the auspices of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), is already in talks with the insurance industry regulator, that is, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to ensure that importers cut off this excessive charge, thereby, saving about N14 billion annually in the process.
The negotiations, it was learnt, would be concluded in a couple of weeks after which NAICOM will approach the insurance firms on possible insurance cover for the importers’ containers at a reasonable rate.
If the importer had insured for the last three years, they would have saved about N42 billion which could have boosted their profit margin, investigations further revealed.
However, with collaboration between NSC and NAICOM, the importers are expected to put an end to this arbitrary payment by the end of second quarter of 2021.