ANLCA Laments Over The Deplorable State Of Nigerian Ports

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“Nwabunike Expressed Dissatisfaction Over Delays In The Installation Of The Newly Procured Scanners By NCS”

The Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Thursday 28th October 2021, during a town hall meeting on a Free hitch port operations organised by JournalNG, expressed dissatisfaction over delays in the installation of the newly procured scanners by the management of Nigeria Customs Service, saying, the nation’s maritime sector is the only country in the world where all cargoes are subjected to 100% manual examinations.

National President of ANLCA, Chief Dr. Tony Iju Nwabunike stated this during a Port Industry Town Hall Meeting put together by “The JournalNg”; lamenting that Nigeria is not ready to solve most of its challenges for obvious reasons, and noting that the expectations of the ports concession have not been adequately met.

According to Chief Nwabunike, smaller neighbouring countries have developed their ports, mainly for cargoes to be consumed by Nigerians, pointing out that the Nigerian seaports are running without dependable port procedures and have no good road network to the terminals in Lagos, Onne, and other ports.

Nwabunike who is the pioneer Chairman, Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) described the nation’s seaports as the worst in the world.

“As a way of helping the government, who seems helpless in the face of obvious non-compliance across the board, private sector groups in the port have established compliance teams, and this point to our collective inadequacy”

Speaking on the deplorable road condition, Nwabunike who also chaired the Town Hall meeting called on the Federal Government to declare the maritime industry as a national emergency where, during dry season construction work should be done 24 hours nonstop, especially on the Apapa- Oshodi expressway.

The ANLCA President decried that “We are nowhere near our peers to maximize the benefits of our port system for this single African trade regime. The earlier we act fast, the better because under the regime countries will see themselves as rivals and competitors on 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.

“The port is very relevant to our national economic growth and timely. Secondly, we assembled here again to discuss issues we ought to have solved and moved on to another greater height of challenges facing us in the Nigerian maritime industry. I suppose, this time calls for openness, being truthfully, and sincerely finding solutions to this problem we are facing the all productive ports for efficiency” he added.

“Without sounding sarcastic, I can say the hitch-free port operation in Nigeria is achievable only if we get our processes right, apply technologically based solutions, putting workable infrastructures in place”

“As someone who has been around the maritime industry for about three (3) decades, I have seen it all from different perspectives as a customs broker, a warehouse owner, an importer, maritime trade experts, and as an administrator who served as the pioneer Board Chairman of Council for the Regulation of freight forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN), and today the President Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA)”

“I am still in shock seeing how Nigeria struggles to administer trucks entering and existing port areas even at this 21st century”. Nigeria is not ready to solve this problem for now, and we are not ready. In solving a problem, you must identify, and address its cause first” he stated.

The situation of port conception has not been adequately met, majorly because Nigeria put the cart before the horse. The port access roads though under construction with some areas already completed are being handled too slowly.

While pouring out his mind, Chief Nwabunike suggested that Port industries installing close circuit televisions on Port access roads will address the challenges of impurity, bribery, and extortion currently going on.

According to the Chairman, the shipping industry cause inflation with guts -for every available bay perpetrated. Thereby exposing the final consumers to pay more in the market.

He pointed out that the Nigeria Customs Service is not absent from the list of organizations yet to embrace change. The hundred percent physical evaluation they ought to talk about is primitive and outdated. For years, the service has been operating without cards. We must be truthful to ourselves if we must make progress” Nwabunike added.