By Ikeugonna Eleke
Traders in the five states of the Southeast under the aegis of South East Amalgamated Market Traders Association (SEAMATA) have petitioned the National Assembly over delay in clearing goods from the Lagos port.
The traders are asking the National Assembly to come to their aid as their goods imported into the country since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown had remained in the port, accumulating demurrage.
A petition sent to the National Assembly, signed by the chairman and secretary of the group; Gozie Akudolu and Alex Okwudiri, respectively, and made available to Fides, called for intervention to ease their plight.
‘The cargoes and consignments of our members were lying at the facilities of the handling companies at the ports all this period of pandemic lockdown while the interest on the loans and overdrafts with which the goods were imported were accumulating with the banks.
‘The worst now came with the cargo handling companies that had over these periods shut down and refused services to our members, now demanding demurrage for the consignments.
‘We are worried that the demurrage being demanded by the handling companies and agencies have continued to run into millions of naira to the extent of increasing the cost of the imported goods by over five hundred percent and also over eighty percent of the market value of the goods,’ they stated in the petition.
The group said if the National Assembly failed to intervene promptly to salvage the situation, the traders would incur huge financial loses and may not be able to repay their bank loans and overdrafts.