The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has demanded immediate refund of over N200 billion lost to demurrage and storage charges incurred by its members while Guarantee Trust Bank was suspended for allegedly failing to remit duty collected to 5he coffers of the federal government.
In a meeting with the officials of the bank on Wednesday, ANLCA representatives insisted that its members won’t bear the cost of demurrage incurred saying they are not ready to let go off the loss.
Speaking, the National Secretary of the association, Mr Babatunde Mukaila expressed dissatisfaction in the way the management of GTB handled the suspension with NCS, noting that ANLCA is aware that NCS gave GTBank two weeks notice to resolve their challenges, yet they neither resolved the issue nor made alternative arrangement for the interest of their clients.
He argued that in the past, some banks have had similar problems but quickly appointed a receiver bank pending the resolution of the matter.
He stressed that the approach of the bank amounts to negligence on their part adding that where there is negligence, someone or group suffers the detriment and as such in every detriment there must be compensation.
He reiterated that the aims and objectives of the association is to protect the members while asking the bank officials how they intend to mitigate the losses.
Other members of the association in attendance also condemned the bank’s attitude and concluded that there will be no stand down on demand for adequate compensation.
Responding, the representative of GTbank Lanre Kola-Banjo apologised to the Customs Brokers while explaining that the problem was as a result of technical fault from the server.
He however debunked the notion that they were given 2 weeks notice. He said to the contrary, they woke up one morning only to discover that they had been disconnected.
He said that they have contacted their customers who were directly involved, apologised and explained the circumstance to them.
He further explained that it was after they had been suspended from accessing the NCS portal that they were given 2 weeks to fix the technical problem or face serious sanction. He said that the problem has since been resolved since the 9th September.
He promised to take the association demands to the top management of the bank for further action.
He quickly added that it is not about apologising to the importers but the issue is that, it is the Customs Brokers that are at the receiving end because they are in contract with importers and not concerned with demurrage and storage charges.
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