The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has expressed satisfaction over delay in the installation of the newly procured scanners by management of the Nigeria Customs Service NCS) while noting that Nigeria’s maritime sector is the only one in the world where cargoes are subjected to manual examinations.
National President of ANLCA, Tony Nwabunike, who stated this during a Port Industry Town Hall Meeting put together by “The JournalNg”, said Nigeria is not ready to solve most of its challenges for obvious reasons adding that the expectations of port concession have not been adequately met.
According to him, smaller neighbouring countries have developed their ports , mainly for cargoes to be consumed by Nigerians, pointing out that the seaports are running without dependable port procedures and having no roads to terminals in Lagos, Onne and other locations.
Nwabunike who was the pioneer Chairman, Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) described the nation’s seaports as “the worst in world.”
“As a way of helping the government, who seems helpless in the face of obvious non compliance across board, private sector groups in the port have established compliance teams and this point to our collective inadequacy.” He said.
Speaking on the deplorable road condition, Nwabunike who also chaired the Town Hall Meeting called on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency in the nation’s maritime industry to allow for 24 hours nonstop construction work, especially on the Apapa- Oshodi axis, during the dry season.
In his words: “I don’t want to say our port system is about the worst in the maritime world. Sadly, that is what it is looking like in terms of shipping companies and customs operations.”
“The earlier we act fast, the better because under the regime countries will see themselves as rivals and competitors in certain economic fronts. Nigeria must not be caught sleeping.”
“Nigeria is the only country I know in the world where cargoes are subjected to joint manual and very cumbersome examination process and as an importer or customs broker, you are subjected to multiple alerts by different customs units.”
“I don’t want to say our port system is about the worst in the maritime world. Sadly, that is what it is looking like in terms of shipping companies and customs operations.”he stressed.
In a swift reactions to Nwabunike claims, however, the Comptroller, Tincan Island Port Command, NCS, MBA Musa explained that subjection of the scanners to assessment test caused the delay.
Comptroller Musa who was represented by Deputy Comptroller, Kikelomo Adeola, reaffirmed the Service’s commitment to smooth port operations adding that the scanners would soon commence operation as soon as the assessment test is concluded.
The Customs boss disclosed that the service will also deployed drones to monitor movement of cargoes within the ports.
Earlier, Publisher of the JournalNg, Ismail Aniemu noted that the Town Hall Meeting was aimed at addressing challenges confronting the maritime industry.