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Operators seeking SON’s return to seaports are compromised – Customs broker


Abiola Seun

A clearing agent and Managing Director, Widescope International Logistics Limited, Dr. Segun Musa, has said that some stakeholders have been bribed  for seeking return of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) back to the ports.

In a statement issued on Monday, Dr. Segun Musa explained that SON and some other agencies were asked to leave the ports in 2011 because they were frustrating cargo clearance procedure.

According to Dr. Musa, “I was surprised to read that some stakeholders gathered to endorse the return of SON to the ports and it is obvious that those involved are most likely to have either collected bribe to compromised or are new in the industry.

“For every critical stakeholder in the maritime industry that has been around for over 10 years now, such person would easily remember why we agitated for the removal of SON, NAFDAC and other multiple agencies whose roles in the ports is to frustrate cargo clearance / trade facilitation.
“We live in the 21 century where ports clearance activities globally are being automated and clearance processing are now being digitalised.
“Why will some groups could be so myopic to drag us backward due to personal interests.
” It is obvious that not everyone that claimed to be stakeholders are truly stakeholders but some are only interested in satisfying their pockets.
“I am highly disappointed in all the self acclaimed stakeholders that endorsed this backwardness for our industry and assured that such proposal shall never see the light of the day.
“The world is advancing and its better to advance along otherwise the world would advance without Nigeria and the only methodical approach is to embrace technological solutions to automate our systems.
“We live in a global neighbourhood where every country has advanced and keep advancing it’s modus operandi in cargo clearance and ports operations to reduce physical contacts and encourage systems connectivity to ease port processes.
Unfortunately, it is only Nigeria and few underdeveloped countries that are left behind and still some few individuals could stoop so low to propose backwardness or a return to stone age for our maritime industry.
“This is most unfortunate and must be condemned generally.
“We are working tirelessly to remove the few agencies in the ports and encouraging them to hook up to technology and systems audit available on the Customs platform that pushes all commodities to respective regulatory agencies and profiles any import not duly released to identify how it was exited.
“How could any genuine stakeholder propose or prefer a step back to analogue instead of digital for our port Industry?
“May I appeal for the list of such stakeholders to be published so as to recognise those behind the backwardness of our industry”
Recall that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Ministers of the Economy, had in 2011 announced the eviction of SON, NAFDAC and some agencies from the ports.
“She said the decision was to fast-track port processes at a time the ports were battling congestion, delays in cargo clearing, which were hindering the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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