The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has predicted that cargo throughput into the nation’s seaports will continue to fall amid the global pandemic, Coronavirus.
Speaking when he presented Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs) to journalists in his office on Tuesday, Barr Hassan Bello said due to fall in price of oil also, there is need for improved attention from the federal government on export.
He further believed that the rate of cargo coming into the port will go down but advised that export can generate income for the government if properly harnessed.
The Shippers’ Council boss however advocated for the federal government to convert one of the terminals at the nation’s seaport for exportation of Nigerian products. This according to him will boost seamless shipping of such commodities as well as further reduce the bottlenecks associated with trade facilitation.
“Export is going to be our main line now because there is a lot of disruptions in the international supply chain on import. Even China will not export what it used to export, they will like to keep it for domestic use.
“Now is the time to look inwards and inward is not as in diversification but deliberate attempt to look at where we have comparative advantage and that is exportation. We can’t import now and even if we import, the throughput will dwindle.
“We have lost revenue in oil due to the vulnerability of oil, we have to look at exportation. Nigeria is vast and so rich we would have been a substitute for China for raw materials which we are going to process. That is why we are calling on the government to focus on export.
Bello maintained that access to the nation’s seaports have been a major problem to trade facilitation but with a designated terminal for exportation would encourage shippers to expedite actions in boost export effectively and efficiently.
He argued further that there was no other time to develop export then the present time as well as to simplify the process for easy exportation of goods outside the country. “There were about 800 trucks outside some terminals but Shippers’ Council has brokered with the terminals and now these trucks are going in.
“We want these exports to be evacuated because some of these exports are perishable and we cannot afford to have them on the roads and non-oil export is very import for our economy.
“Export is very important. For non-oil revenue in 2019, Nigeria got N2.5 trillion, in 2016, it was N344 billion, 2017, N629 billion, in 2018, we got N1.1 trillion. You can see it is rising. Then why can’t we build on this?
“There is no other time to develop our export than now, so we have to reset this struggling and crawling economy and look beyond oil,” he stated. He assured that the Council was poised to eliminate factors militating against export especially the rail capacity, the roads, processes and other means.