Immediate past National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu has advised the Federal Government to sign a contract that would allow port terminal operators to procure and maintain scanning machines at Nigerian Ports.
Recall that the The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in July 2020 announced that it is set to spend over N688.56 billion ($1.812 billion) for the acquisition of over 300 scanners for the nation’s ports and entry points for digital examination of cargoes.
But Shittu in his 70th birthday speech on Thursday advised that instead of the federal government purchasing scanners, the government should engage the terminal operators and work out a contract for them to provide and maintain scanners and pass on the result into a secure server accessible to Customs and other agencies.
He lamented that the continuous delay in installation of scanners at the ports also has negative implications for the Presidential Ease of Doing Business initiative and efforts aimed at improving efficiency at port operations.
Shittu, the most celebrated Customs broker in Nigeria also added that absence of a National Single Window platform was stifling
trade facilitation and compounding the cargo clearing process in Nigeria.
He observed that in the West and Central Africa region, Nigeria is one of the few countries that do not operate the single window platform.
“When Single Window was established at the Cotonou Port, it reduced cargo delivery time from 40 days to less than 10 days. It increased government revenue by more than 39 per cent. In terms of truck transit down to port they gained 23 per cent of the time”
“Therefore, the implementation of a National Single Window will significantly improve cargo turnaround time at our ports, promote efficiency and transparency, and enhance Nigerian ports’ competitiveness in the West African region” he said
Shittu advised that reform measures that will promote 24-hour port operations must be formulated and implemented by all government agencies involved in the cargo evacuation process.
According to him, Nigerian ports have already lost a significant portion of the cargo destined for the region to other our neighbours’ more efficient ports.
On the poor access roads leading to Nigerian ports and the ever present traffic gridlock, he said “The Presidential Task Team on Decongestion of Apapa port roads has not been very successful in achieving its mandate. The access roads to Nigerian ports have been overwhelmed by population growth and stagnancy in upgrading port systems, structures, and infrastructure built over two decades ago”
“I will lend my voice to the clamour for the establishment of an automated Truck Call-Up System and urge the Federal Government to adopt a pragmatic approach to the total implementation of the proposed intermodal transportation system to ease evacuation of cargo from the ports, and also to pay special attention on water cargo transportation by barges”
“I also support efforts by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to develop a partnership with the World Bank aimed at finding a sustainable solution to the persistent traffic caused by bad roads and congestion in Lagos, by introducing a modern traffic management system”