AfCFTA Implementation: CILT Seeks Reduction in Number of Agencies At Border Posts

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R-L: Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa, CILT Nigeria President, Barr Mfon Ekong Usoro, Professor Jonathan Aremu and Prof Ngozi Egbuna during a panel session at the ongoing CILT 2023 Conference

…Inducts 260 Fellows, Chattered Members

…Keyamo, Apapa Port Manager Among Inductees

By DAPO OLAWUNI

As part of its 2023 Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) holding at Lagos Continental Hotel Victoria Island Lagos, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has called for the minimization of the number of government agencies that are manning the borders, saying that they are currently too many and this would jeopardise implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

The Institute argued that most of the agencies are running at cross purposes.

CILT Nigeria President, Barr Mfon Ekong Usoro (left) Mrs Chinwe Ezenwa

CILT Nigeria has also announced the induction of 260 persons into the institute as Fellows, Chattered Members and Members.

The CILT 2023 Conference with the Theme: “Designing the Future of Transportation and Logistics” which kicked off in Lagos on Monday November 27th is expected to run through November 28th with 15 paper presentations.

A breakdown of the inductees showed that 45 persons where inducted as Fellows, this includes the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Apapa Port Manager, Charles Okaga among others.

Also, 121 persons where inducted as Chattered Members, while 94 persons where made members.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman, CILT 2023 Planning Committee, Prof Kayode Oyesiku urged the Federal Government to collaborate with State Governments in order to speed up implementation process for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

Participants at the CILT 2023 Conference and Annual General Meeting

According to him, presently, it appears that implementation of the AfCFTA is taking a very slow approach because the government is not capturing on the opportunities that this provided.

Oyesiku noted that this could be attributed to the just concluded 2023 elections, adding that the new government needs to settle down to access the situation.
He however cautioned that “The federal government alone cannot handle the AfCFTA agreement on its own. We have to work with the states.

“There are a number of changes in several states. So we are still giving the government some time to actually rest, to ensure that we harmonize what’s the nature of the development of those states.

“Some of those states come with different political parties or different governments. We also need to take some time to harmonize this particular vote so that they can buy into whatever the succeeding governments have done in respect of the success of this particular agreement. And I’m sure in the next few months, we are actually likely to catch up” Oyesiku stated

Speaking further, Prof Oyesiku said there are two dimensions to the AfCFTA implementation; Customs and Infrastructure.

On infrastructure, he noted that the Federal Government is doing a lot to ensure that the roads are fixed, and that the States, especially Lagos and Abuja have followed suit.

“In terms of the Customs, there is need for Standardized education to the customs who are in charge of our borders. The third issue that is critical is the minimization of the number of agencies that are actually mining our borders. They are too many and most of them are running at cross purposes.

“The federal government has also assured of reducing them. But in the next few months, you will begin to see these particular changes” he said

In her welcome address, President of CILT Nigeria, Barr Mfon Ekong Usoro revealed that the CILT Book; Perspectives on Transort and Logistics; which was unveiled at the conference on Monday is a compilation research papers by the academia that were presented at the 2022 Conference and have undergone rigorous peer review in a book form.

According to Usoro, a former Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the CILT is satisfied with the efforts of the Federal Government in rearranging its organs in the transportation and logistics space which is intended to prioritize the sector.

“In doing so, we urge the Government to give due attention to the linkages between the MDAs that plan and execute policies relating directly and indirectly to supply chain and transportation. To this end, we advocate the adoption of a whole-of-government approach in policy formulation and execution to facilitate the attainment of the objectives of the long-awaited National Transport Policy and the 2021-2025 National Development Plan.

“As we did for the Draft National Transport Policy, CILT is equipped with the expertise to assist in refining existing policy documents to align with current realities and contribute to the development of new initiatives” she said

In his goodwill message, the special guest of honor, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN, noted that the CILT 2023 Conference is very relevant to the 8-point agenda set forth by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Prof Kayode Oyesiku

“In our pursuit of a more prosperous future, the transportation and logistics sector plays a pivotal role in translating vision into reality. The efficient movement of goods and people not only fuels economic growth but is intrinsically tied to our nation’s food security initiatives.

“As we deliberate on the intricacies of our industry, let us remain cognizant of the profound impact we can have on job creation.

“The aerospace and logistics sectors are dynamic engines of employment, providing opportunities that span a spectrum of skills and expertise, contributing significantly to the overarching goals and aspirations of the government of our nation.

“Moreover, our commitment to innovation and sustainable practices within the transportation and logistics sector resonates with the broader goals of environmental sustainability outlined in the 8-point agenda of Mr. President. By harnessing cutting-edge technologies and strategic partnerships, we can not only optimize logistics but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.

“Without a doubt, the seamless movement of goods and people is the backbone of economic progress. In fostering a robust transportation network, we not only enhance connectivity but also contribute significantly to ensuring food reaches our tables efficiently.

“The logistics sector, intertwined with the aviation and aerospace domains, stands as a catalyst for economic growth, providing a conduit for trade and commerce to flourish” he said

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