Govt reaffirms commitment to efficiency at ports

lagos-port (1)THE Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) has reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Government to ensure efficiency at Nigerian Ports. Speaking at a one-day conference on Review of port concession agreement in Lagos, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello said the global competitiveness of Nigerian ports would go a long way in attracting foreign investment.

He said port reform has brought tremendous benefits to the national economy, adding that there is still need to harness other areas at the port in order to bring down the cost of doing business and enthrone efficiency. He also commended efforts by the council to unveil Cargo Track System (CTS) at ports. He explained that the initiative is expected to scan every container, which arrived at the port, pointing out that the process will give Nigerians the opportunity to have a clear picture of goods in containers.

As economic regulator of the port, Bello explained that the Council has played several roles in ensuring transparency, coordinate, moderate and harmonise many processes and procedures with a view to achieving operational efficiency at the nation’s port. He also implored relevant government agencies to be reasonable with charges as part of measures to curtail diversion of cargoes to neighbouring countries.

He also said there is need for the government to support the council by providing guidelines on the tariff, adding that the development would guide against arbitrariness, reduce high cost of doing business and prevent inflationary effect on the economy. The Chairman of Nigerian Port Consultative Council, Kunle Folarin said global commerce, seaports or maritime transport play an important role in the development of international trade.

He said: “All over the world, government and port authorities have withdrawn from the port operations having identified that only private sector participation in the port services and operations would achieve greater flexibility and productivity to consumers of port services.”

Speaking on the gridlock at Apapa, the national president of Association of Nigerian Licensed Custom Agent (ANLCA), Olayiwola Shittu said the menace poses a challenge to the smooth flow of international traded goods, which result in loss of revenue to the government. Shittu also advised the government to relocate all petroleum jetties and tank farms along the ports’ access road. The permanent secretary of Ministry of Transport, Sambo Bashar commended the efforts of the NSC in ensuring economic standard at the ports.

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