National Assembly investigates extortion on cargo export

Director of Information, National Assembly Abuja, Rawlings Agada, has said the sum of N37 billion, approved for the renovation of the National assembly complex may not be enough for the work.

The upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly are separately investigating cases of alleged extortion, delays in processing cargoes and other issues affecting goods exports from Nigeria.

The Senate Wednesday commenced moves to stop the delay in processing and the illegal charges on cargo transport by freight agents in Nigeria.

The decision followed a motion titled: “The need to streamline Import and Export Cargo Processing in the Aviation Sector” sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South) yesterday.

Na’Allah noted with dismay the loss of about N250 billion on agro-export in the country.

He said there are about 16 sundry charges for goods coming into or leaving the country – with 16 in Lagos and 15 in Abuja, and many of them being unofficial and illegal.

He said loading 100 tons of cargo on aircraft costs around $35,000 in Nigeria, compared to Ghana, where it costs just about $4000.

On their part, the House of Representatives directed its committees on Customs, finance, aviation, and agricultural production and services to investigate the alleged extortion and sundry charges on airfreighting and agro-export businesses in Nigeria.

The lower chamber said this has made foreign cargo airlines to always leave empty without shipment.

Adopting a motion moved by Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) on Wednesday, the House said the issues are adversely affecting air cargo freight in Nigeria.

Presenting the motion, he said there were reports in the media about foreign airlines leaving Nigeria empty as a result of extortion and multiple charges.

According to him, Nigeria has a huge agro-export potential, with 22 non-oil products worth over $150 billion in export value yearly already pencilled in the new export promotion programme of the federal government.

“Export is supposed to be free in Nigeria under extant laws and regulations, except for the airline’s charges and payments,” he said

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