…NIGERIAN SENATE TO INVESTIGATE SOUTH EAST AMALGAMATED MARKET TRADERS ASSOCIATION(SEAMATA) COMPLAINTS ON PIL SHIPPING AGENCY OVER DELAY OF THEIR CARGOES AND EXCESSIVE CHARGES ON THEIR CONTAINERS RESULTING TO HIGH COST OF GOODS AS PRESENTED BY SENATOR IFEANYI UBAH ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE.
In furtherance of my urgent motion which I came under Order 43 of the Senate Rules to move on Tuesday; July 7, 2020, alerting the Nigerian Senate of the excruciating pains and extortion suffered by the South East Market Traders Association(SEAMATA) in the hands of PIL Shipping agency entrusted with the task of delivering their containers from China to ports in Nigeria, today being Wednesday; October 7, 2020, I moved a comprehensive motion on the urgent need to rescue the South East Amalgamated Traders Association businesses from total collapse and extinction from shipping lines, most in particular PIL Shipping Agency.
I emphasized that the South East Amalgamated Market Traders Association(SEAMATA) is an umbrella union of traders in all the markets in the Southeast geo-political zone and traders of South East extraction doing business across the federation.
Furthermore, I also noted that some of their members who happen to be my constituents are suffering excruciating pains and anguish from shipping companies most in particular PIL, a shipping agency with their operational base in Nigeria located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
I expressed concern over the fact that their members entrusted their cargoes and containers from China to PIL for delivery to ports in Nigeria, some in December 2019 while others were in January 2020. These cargoes were supposed to be delivered at their ports of destination on or before February 15, 2020, but up till date, some of the cargoes are yet to arrive Nigerian ports.
Further concerned that all enquiries and appeals to to PIL were greeted with empty and failed promises of new arrival dates, I stated that four vessels, namely; KOTA SALAM, KOTA SATRIA, KOTA SURIA, and KOTO SINGA all have their members’ cargoes aboard. Out of these four vessels, only KOTA SINGA and KOTA SATRIA arrived some weeks ago after about six and seven months respectively.
I reminded the Senate that most of their members’ cargoes aboard these vessels were funded with loans and overdrafts raised from banks with interests on them growing in geometrical progression. Presently, some banks have placed the homes of some of these importers which they used as collateral for sale.
Retrospectively, I noted that the consequences of these development is taking a huge toll on the health of these importers as most of them are now battling with severe depression, hypertension and other related sicknesses, with their businesses dying gradually as a result of the ineptitude of PIL and others shipping lines.
The Senate accordingly resolved to mandate the Senate Committee on Marine Transport to investigate the activities of the shipping lines in the country mostly PIL and report back in two weeks.
Conclusively, it is my expectation that the mandated committee will ensure holistic compliance of these prayers/directives so as to save businesses of SEAMATA members from imminent collapse.
Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Ubah.
Anambra South Senatorial District.