A study conducted by the Organised Private Sector (OPS) tagged ‘Maritime Ports Reform In Nigeria: Feedback from the Organised Private Sector’, has revealed that the country was losing N3.1trillion annually to crises rocking the nation’s ports system.
The report of the study which was released yesterday showed that the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) lost an estimated N600billion while about N2.5trillion of corporate earnings were lost annually to port crises.
According to the report, these port crises include bureaucratic red tape, limited access to the ports due to traffic congestion, constant delays, illegal charges, technical and security breakdowns which had led to high cost of operations and competitiveness.
“There have been efforts over the years by stakeholders (federal government in collaboration with private sector and development partners) to reposition the ports for efficiency and attain global best operational standard. These efforts notwithstanding, operators and users of the Nigerian Ports are increasingly faced with bureaucratic red tape, limited access to the port due to traffic congestion, constant delays, illegal charges technical and security breakdown which had led to high cost of operation and competitiveness.”
The report which was prepared by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), National Association of Chambers of Commerce Industry and Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI) and the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
The OPS however recommended quick adoption of single window and fixing of the dilapidated Ports access roads. It read, “The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) should urgently issues an ultimatum of not more than 90 days for all statutory agencies to be on single window platform. PEBEC should always urgently drive the issue at the customs clearing/ trading platform by all MDAs mandated to operate in the cross border sphere.”
Speaking on the traffic gridlock, the OPS said, “Traffic gridlock and poor traffic control system. There is need for coordinated and integrated traffic control system on port access road.” In the report, the OPS complained about security agencies operating at the seaports but working at cross purposes.
“Multiple security agencies working at cross purposes. There is a need for security agencies to synergies their operational strategies to remove duplicated procedures which breed inefficiencies and corruption. Full automation with minimal human interface is also recommended. Non-passage harmonisation or signing of all pending maritime sector bill.
Advocacy group and PEBEC to work with the National Assembly to complete the passage, harmonisation and signing of the pending maritime sector bill and fix the access roads to, from and within APAPA, Tin Can, Warri and Calabar port.”
The report, however concluded that the success of the port reform largely predicated on the buy-in of all stakeholders, political will of the presidency and PEBEC through active and sustained enforcement, monitoring and sanctions where necessary.
“Overall political will, active enforcement and monitoring framework and flow right from the presidency down to the MDA is the most essential enabler to succeed and sustain the present port reforms. We believe that the success of the ongoing reforms in the port is largely predicated on the buy-in of all stakeholders, political will of the presidency and PEBEC through active and sustained enforcement, monitoring and sanctions where necessary.”
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