The National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has appealed to the federal government to improve the state of infrastructure at the nation’s seaports.
President of NACCIMA, Mrs. Alaba Lawson Who made the appeal on` behalf of importers, said the long delay is negatively affecting business in the country.
Speaking at a summit organised by Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) in Lagos, Mrs. Lawson said the port has a low level of modern functional technology.
Lawson who was represented by Mrs. Flora Takim Ndifor said, “The lingering delay clearing a container at Nigerian ports still persist despite various interventions by the government. The facilities we have at our ports are far cry from what is accessible at other African ports such as Ghana and Benin Republic.”
NACCIMA, the apex business association however urged the federal government to improve the overall efficiency of the ports and reduce the cost of doing business.
“Our association urges government and other relevant port agencies to put in place more effective strategies to improve the overall efficiency of the Port and reduce the cost of doing business at the ports which will enhance the ease of doing business in the country and make the Nigerian Ports the hub for international freight and trade in West Africa” said Lawson.
Also speaking, a former president, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Eugene Nweke confirmed that it takes 20 days to clear cargoes off the nation’s seaports.
His words: “The dwell time of cargoes when it has been discharged from the port and when it will go out takes about 20 days on the average and to them, that is a very bad business. If international best practices is adhered to, it is expected that shipping lines will do advance manifest transmission to Customs and when they do that they have no issue of rotation numbers issued by customs.”
Nweke also identified proliferation of government agencies at the seaports as another bottleneck at the port. “Many agencies having overlapping power. For ease of doing business to be successful in Nigeria, the first thing is to put up a template and framework upon which a clear cut functions for the various agencies at the ports,” said Nweke.
nt of liberal charges at the Nigerian ports said the only way to achieve hub status was to waive some of the charges.
“Every charge must be tied to a service and for you to ask me to pay you, you must tell me what you have done to deserve the payment,” she said. “In developed countries, there are modal split of for example, 20 per cent road, 50 per cent rail and 20 per cent by barge but in our country, we do 99 per cent by road.”
Also speaking, managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, assured that the Authority was working hard to create a level playing ground for all operators, insisting that all hands must be on deck to improve port efficiency and competitiveness.
Usman, who was represented by the manager, Audit, Sarah Oghomienor, said: “We have been working hard to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness at the ports. It is not only the port charges that is so depressive, it is the entire system, the infrastructure, the roads, the insurance, among others are culminating to the higher cost. I think the onus lies on all of us.
Vice president-elect, ANCLA, Kayode Farinto, said the high cost at the seaports was ridiculous, very high and it is killing the industry.
“In fact, we should commend the importers that are still bringing their cargoes through our ports. They deserve an award,” he said.