The President of National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMMA), Mrs. Alaba Lawson, has decried the endless rise in costs of doing business at Nigerian ports despite the activities of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
She said even though the action plan of PEBEC aimed at creating enabling environment and easy movement of goods across borders, the endless wait for its full implementation of the action plan is worrisome to businesses at ports.
Explaining more in her presentation at a recent maritime industry summit in Lagos, on the theme: ‘Port Charges: How Plausible?’ Mrs. Lawson made it clear that “Delay in clearance of cargoes at Nigerian ports still persist despite PEBEC’s intervention which is a far cry from what is practicable in other African ports such as Ghana and Benin republic”.
“The ports have a low level automation, data base and integrated process system. We urge government to put in place more effectively strategies to improve the overall efficiency at the ports and reduce the cost of doing business at ports to make Nigerian ports a hub for international freights and trade,”
Corroborating issues with NACIMMA leader, the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udemba Jacobs, said port charges are major source of worry for the manufacturers and it has contributed to high cost of production. Jacobs therefore called for reasonable ports charges.
Jacobs, who was represented by Niran Olajobi, bemoaned the deplorable of ports access roads and the gridlock, which has contributed to the charges, urging government to immediately fix the roads.
But in her response, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, noted that the Authority is working hard to create a level playing ground for all operators, and used the summit to urge stakeholders to join the agency in improving port efficiency and competitiveness.
Represented by the Manager Audit, Sarah Oghomienor, the NPA boss averred that “We have been working hard to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness at the ports. It is not only the port charges that is so depressive, it is the entire system, the infrastructure, the roads, the insurance, among others are culminating to the higher cost. I think the onus lies on all of us. It’s our responsibility; we should go to any length to ensure that we all benefit from the industry. We at NPA are working relentlessly to ensure that it is a win-win situation for all stakeholders,”
Other stakeholders at the summit include Association Of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), among others.