Operator Advocates Establishment of Maritime Ministry
BY EGUONO ODJEGBA
Chieftain of the Association of Nigeria Licenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Dr. Kayode Farinto has urged the Federal Government to establish a Federal Ministry of Maritime to cater for critical needs that can reposition the maritime industry for optimal performance.
Farinto who made the call yesterday at the 3rd Annual Conference/Awards of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), with the title ‘Seamless Port Operations in Nigeria’, expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of development and apparent negative growth indices recorded in the industry over the past years.
He noted that the continued subjugation and fusing of the maritime industry under the Federal Ministry of Transportation has created an unwholesome neglect in the maritime critical productive mix, efficiency and competitiveness, which he said has led to the loss of Nigeria’s sub regional hub status.
Representing the AMJON Patron, lju Tony Nwabunike at the event and presented a paper on the ‘Roles of Customs Brokers/Freight Forwarders in Seamless Port Operations in Nigeria’, Farinto said “Some of the failures of the industry are through sheer neglect because the transportation ministry have too much to look after and no time to attend to those things that are most critical and urgent.
“The maritime industry is too to continue to suffer neglect, government should establish a Ministry of Maritime like Ministry of Aviation that will focus on industry matrix and help the country to recover it’s lost capacity and potential.”
“There are a lot of factors militating against the maritime industry in Nigeria, including lack of infrastructure like scanners to speed up cargo examination by Customs and other government agencies.”
A passionate industry player, Farinto bemoaned duplicity of functions by agencies of government at the industry, which he identified as one of the drawbacks.
He also identified other challenges which include the perennial traffic gridlock along the ports access roads, lack of functional railway system for immediate evacuation of containers out of the port, activities of miscreants within the port corridors, corruption and sabotage in the system.
“Numerous agencies of governments at the seaport are carrying out similar functions. Perennial traffic gridlock is hindering easy access to the seaport; including poor road network within the port vicinity”.
President of AMJON, Mr. Paul Ogbuokiri in his welcome address said the apologized for the failure of 2020 edition which he attributed to the outbreak of Covid-19; and expressed confidence that the transport and logics chain industry unhappily slowed down by the virus will redouble their efforts at capacity performance.
The AMJON leader urged the Federal Government to complete the rehabilitation of the Lagos ports roads timely, and also enjoined the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency to recommit to their determination to raise the growth index and increase the tempo of sub regional competitiveness.
He said, “We have noted that the leadership of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has commenced a campaign for the removal of the war risk insurance on Nigerian bound cargoes and is also inching closer to returning Nigerian to a position of importance in global maritime politics.
“It has also come to our notice that the new leadership at the Nigerian Ports Authority has reworked the Electronic Truck Call System (ETO) to the extent that it brought down the notorious Apapa traffic gridlock by about 60 per cent. We’re looking forward that this magic Wang will put traffic completely under control so that Apapa, Nigeria’s foremost port city will regain its grove.
“To this end we urge the Federal Government to ensure that the Nigerian ports access roads, particularly the about 10 kilometers Oshodi-Apapa expressway which has been under construction for more than 20 is completed as experts have said that completion of construction work on the road will reduce the Apapa gridlock by 40 per cent.”
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, Dr. Kayode Farinto, Hajia Bola Muse, General Manager, Lagos Operations, National Inland Waterways Authority, Engr. (Mrs) Sarat Braimoh, were among those honoured at the prestigious event by AMJON.