By DAPO OLAWUNI
Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has called on the Federal Government to reintroduce the controversial Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) at Nigerian ports system in order to ensure protection against illicit trade importations and to generate revenue for the Federal Government.
The National President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, said these at a roundtable event orgainsed by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN in Lagos.
DAILY TREND recalls that the multimillion Naira CTN was first introduced into Nigeria during the late President Yar’Adua/Jonathan administration.
The contract was signed between the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and a Belgian firm, TPMS-Antaser-Afrique.
It was introduced on January 11, 2010, and operated for one year before it was abruptly terminated by the former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in 2011. Okonjo-Iweala said the scheme was hurting businesses.
Apart from that, the scheme was surrounded with allegations of fraud which necessitated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to launch an investigation into the reported €40 million Euros that has accrued before termination of the scheme which was not accounted for.
Notwithstanding the controversies, the APFFLON President on Thursday told maritime reporters that the CTN is very necessary at the Nigerian port system in order to assist genuine declarations of cargo.
Speaking on genuine declarations at the port, Ogunojemite said there was need for Nigeria to have a relationship with most of the countries where cargoes are being shipped from.
“Most of the drugs that NDLEA intercepted are based on information from abroad, this is on all shipments coming into this country, we must have a collaboration with the countries of origin of these shipments, that would give us revenue and security, otherwise people would continue to do wrong declaration”
“Cargo Tracking Note is not a new thing, it was initiated by America in year 2011 when they had an attack. It was later that they asked IMO what to do to safeguard other countries, it was IMO that now told other countries to adopt the program.
“The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) was given the mandate in 2010 to handle it.
At that time, there was a company in Belgium that came in partnership with NPA, they realized a huge sum of money that was shared on a percentage of 60-40. There was a perpetration of fraud and this was why it was stopped.
“The CTN was stopped by President Jonathan in 2015 before he left, Okonjo Iweala saw that N3billion was missing among these people.
“Of course the CTN should be brought back for two reasons, to protect our border and generate money for the government. But how do we monitor this when there are allegations of fraud against some people in certain quarters and the government has not done anything. For me, if they can clean up that area, they should bring it back” he said