An Examination of Wharf Landing Fees Legislation in Nigeria: Lagos and Cross River States Case Studies
13 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2016 Last revised: 13 May 2021
Date Written: August 12, 2016
The Wharf Landing Fees legislation has caused stirs across the states where they have been signed into law. This law empowers the Local Government Authorities in the State to charge Wharf Landing Fees on any item or consignment transported through the Seaport into any Local Government Area of the State where a Port is located. In this work, the author examines the provisions of the Wharf Landing Fees Law of Lagos State, 2009 and the Wharf Landing Fees Law of Cross River State, 2015 with the aim of ascertaining the constitutional validity or otherwise of same.
The Author finds that there is no law defining what “wharf landing” means. The Author finds that Lagos State Wharf Landing Law is illegal and void as the House of Assembly of Lagos State lacked the power to enact the law at the time when same was made. The Author also finds that while House of Assembly of Cross River State had power to enact Wharf Landing Fees Law at the time when the House did, the legal instrument which gave the power is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and therefore void. The existing Federal legislation, the Nigerian Ports Authority Act, provides that it is only the Nigerian Ports Authority that can legislate on Wharfage, Wharfinger, and landing of goods at the Ports. The State Governments do not have such power.
It is recommended that if State Governments are desirous of obtaining fees from Heavy Duty vehicles that carry consignment from the Ports into the Local Governments, they are at liberty to make a law authorizing same. However, such law cannot be called “Wharf Landing Fee”. The said law must also not contain any matter on Shipping, maritime or Port Operations.
Keywords: Wharf, Wharf Landing Fees, Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagos State, Cross River State, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Taxes and Levies (Approved List of Collection) Act, Taxes and Levies (Approved List of Collection) Act (Amendment) Order 2015
JEL Classification: K34, K39, L98, L99
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation