NAGAFF Laments Heritage Bank’s Inability To Process Customs Duty

Clearing agents operating at the nation’s seaports have lamented about inability of Heritage bank to process customs duty saying the bank is cash strapped.

The President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr. Tochukwu Ezisi, lamented loss of over N120million as demurrage following gross efficiency in processing Customs duty payments at Heritage bank with over 12days duration in recent months.

According to him, Heritage Bank opened duty payment and made payment only for them to say their cash is exhausted.

Ezisi, who is also the managing director of JAYS and BEES Enterprise, argued that since 2022 payment of Customs duties at Heritage bank has become strenuous and protracted as it takes 12-13days for payments to reflect with importers and freight agents condemned to be demurrage as a result of the delays.

Speaking with newsmen, the NAGAFF President called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to link Heritage bank to another commercial bank for the purpose of Customs duty payment in order to curb the colossal demurrage losses caused by Heritage bank.

His words, “For the past four months duty payments with Heritage Bank has been so difficult. Most times after capturing and making payments at the banks, the payment doesn’t reflect until 12-13 days. I have personally paid demurrage of over N120million as a result of the challenge with Heritage Bank.”

“As I speak to you today, I have Customs duty of over N200million stuck in Heritage bank for almost 10 days. Those goods have accumulated demurrage which is about N10,200,000 per day. I have talked to Heritage Bank about this issue severally. Last week, they said they are opening duty payment on Friday and I made payment only for them to say their cash is exhausted.”

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Noting that he tried using another procedure by obtaining a code from Customs to use another bank, he stated that the transaction he did using this format was alerted over the perceived absence of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), but PAAR was actually captured.

“All these goods have Heritage Bank ‘Form M’ so I can’t pay in another bank. CBN should link Heritage Bank to another bank for the purpose of paying Customs duties so that that importers and freight forwarders avoid this economic losses. I can present the receipts of over N120million demurrage as a result of this challenge with Heritage Bank. Heritage bank is a mess as far as international business is concerned. The bank is dealing with importers and freight agents.”

“I spoke with someone at the head office over a duty payment of N200million but the feedback I got was that the bank isn’t sure the platform will be open throughout this week. This is a simple transaction that can be concluded within 10minutes in any other bank, but a senior officer at Heritage bank is saying he isn’t sure the bank will open this window for Customs duty payment throughout this week,” he said.


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