Chinazor Megbolu |
The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) had lamented the absence of single window platform at ports.
The organisation said that despite its efforts towards ensuring efficiency at Nigerian ports, the absence of a Single Window platform has continued to rob Nigeria its gains of the port reform exercise that took place in 2006.
The Executive Secretary, NSC, Barrister Hassan Bello made this known in Lagos during the 20th year celebration of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF).
The NSC henchman who was represented by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, Mrs. Celine Ifeora, expressed worry that cargo dwell time at the nation’s port had gone up to 22-days and added that ships turnaround time had increased to 8-days.
Bello explained that this issue is a slap on the country even as he stated that Cotonou in Benin Republic, the country’s neighbouring port, experienced reduction in cargo dwell time from 14 days to 7 days after implementation of the single window platform.
According to him; “today in our port, you will find out that although the ports have been concessioned in order to ensure low cost of doing business, we are still having so many problems, we want to bring in efficiency but efficiency is running away from us.
“Most of the cargoes that come into our country today still undergo physical examination, even the scanners that we have, most of them are not working, cargo dwell time is still going up”, he lamented.
Bello also pointed out that turnaround time of vessels at the ports is on the rise as well as that it was right days at some of the terminals visited.
“Something that we achieved two months back by bringing it down to 2 days, now it has gone up again,” he said.
He noted that almost all the countries in West Africa have put in place the single window platform except Nigeria, which other African nations are looking up to.
He, however, maintained the gains of Single window platform will do away with the manual processes that bring about delays and corruption.
“We don’t want people at the port to have human contact, they can stay at the comfort of their offices and transact any business.
“Not long ago, I was in Cotonou where Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) had a program about single window, you won’t believe that Cotonou for example told us that when they put the single window in place, their revenue increased by 38 per cent which is quite high”.
“Secondly, their cargo dwell time reduced from 14 days to 7 days, we need to join people who are doing the right thing in order for us to be competitive”, Bello said.
Meanwhile, the Founder of NAGAFF, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam posited how NAGAFF was set up towards breaking the corrupt practices at the nation’s ports, increase compliance and ensure that practitioners do not cheat federal government of needed revenue.
He further noted that of the greatest achievements of NAGAFF is the setting up of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) which he described as a baby of NAGAFF.
“The CRFFN is not an agency of the government, the matter is already at the Appeal Court, but we shall pursue the true interpretation of the CRFFN up to the supreme court”.
“What I charge all of you is to abide with the law, never go against the law, but be fearless. You will attain the greatness you desire “, Aniebonam said.
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