Oyetola impressed by NSC strides


By Abiodun OBA

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has given kudos to the Nigerian Shippers Council for tits giant and enviable strides in formulating policies aimed at improving the maritime sector.

The Minister on Wednesday gave the commendation during a tour of the maritime industry.

Oyetola assured that his administration would pursue the establishment of the Port Community System, a Single Window Project being pursued by the Nigerian Shippers Council which is targeted at ensuring ease of doing business at Nigerian Ports.

The Minister commended NSC over the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) domiciled under the Council and assured that his administration would pursue its implementation in order to ensure efficient monitoring and movement of cargoes.

Commending the activities of the Council on the Ports Standing Task Team (PSTT) especially in the fight against corruption and corrupt practices at Nigerian ports,  he warned that the government of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not tolerate corruption in the port system.

“I am particularly happy about the issue of the cargo tracking and I think it is important for us to get that done, if we are able to do that, then the delay as regards the movement of cargoes would be eliminated.

“Also, the port community system platform, which is the Single Window for all the actors within the sector would allow the ease of doing business, so it is something that we would pursue seriously.

“I have gone round to look at the state of our ports, and it is very discouraging. I am not blaming anybody because the ports are old.

“With what I saw today at Lekki Deep Seaport, I would want us to replicate that in other places. My concept of port development is more of PPP, so, it is important for us to start thinking about that.

“The government does not need to own the port hundred percent, the government would still derive revenue when you look at port efficiency,” he said.

Oyetola condemned the physical inspection of cargoes by Nigeria Customs Service officials at the port, even as he urged them to go back to the use of scanning machines provided at the port by Federal Government.

“The issue of Customs inspecting cargoes physically is archaic, it is something that we need to engage the Customs more. I witnessed the physical examination of a cargo yesterday and I wonder how much it would take to inspect the lots of cargoes piling around.

“Again, another thing I noticed is the extent to which cargo is being dumped at the port. I understand that about 6,000 cargoes are lying there at the ports uncleared. There must be an understanding as to when the cargo should be declared abandoned and use due process to sell them off.

“Some of the cargoes we were told have been there since 2011. What is the use of occupying that space? There is no economic advantage for keeping overtime cargoes for that long. We need to engage the Customs to see the best way to evacuate them.

“Marine and blue economy has always been with us, we are only now bringing up a coordinated approach to harnessing all our potentials.

“I am satisfied with your performance all together, and I enjoin you to do better. If we want to regulate the port, we must first ensure the ports are working,” he said.

Fielding questions from journalists on activities of the PSTT, the Blue Economy Minister said, “If Shippers Council is doing well, that means the Ministry is doing well, we would do what we can to ensure that they even do better.

“All the stakeholders should know that the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu would not allow corruption at the port. There is a need for us to eradicate it, and that is an area that the NSC has been seen to be doing well”.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hon. Emmanuel Jime, highlighted issues requiring urgent attention to include the amendment of NSC Act to institute effective port economic regulation.

Other areas the NSC boss mentioned are; “actualization of one-percent (1%) freight stabilization fee on import and export to Shippers Council as enshrined in the NSC Subsidiary Legislation; implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN); establishment of a National Fleet, among others.”

The NSC boss expressed delight that the Minister has already shown immense commitment to transform the economic fortunes of the nation via the maritime sector.

Also speaking the NSC Director, Strategic Planning and Research, Mr. Rotimi Anifowose highlighted some of the recent gains of the NSC to include promotion of digitization and automation of all port processes.

“In order to reduce the incidences of human contact in cargo delivery and abolish manual documentation for efficient service delivery, the Council is promoting the digitization and Automation of all Port Processes in Nigeria. This resulted into the digitization of all processes by providers of shipping and ports services,” he said.

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