By Kenneth Jukpor & Okuneye Moyosola
MMS Plus brings you an assessment of the major parastatals in the transport sector for the first half of the year 2019. The first six months was centered on pre-election, elections and post-election drama, but how did transport agencies and institution attack their core functions.
For the grading system: A =90-100%, B+ = 80-89%, B =70-79%, C+ =60-69%, C =50-59%, D =40-49% and E = 30-39%, F = 0-30%. Enjoy it:
Nigeria Customs Service (NCS)
Nigeria Customs Service is one of the top revenue generating agencies of the government but it also has the crucial role to facilitate trade, among other duties. For this rating, we would score the agency based on its performance of four (4) statutory functions:
• Collection of Revenue (Import /Excise Duties & other Taxes /Levies) and Accounting for Same:
Customs has recorded impressive revenue generation in the first half of 2019 with most Command exceeding 50% of their total 2019 fiscal target in the first six months. Although the Service is yet to release the cumulative revenue generated from January to June this year; most Commands performed admirably.
Score = 18/25
• Anti-Smuggling Activities:
In the period under review, Customs recorded massive seizures as several thousands of bags of rice, exotic vehicles, hard drugs such as tramadol, among others have been seized. However, despite these successes, it has been reportedly observed that Customs officers at the ports and border stations aid sharp practices and in turn alert their colleagues at other commands, especially FOU who intercept the same consignments already scrutinized by Customs officers at the ports.
Score = 10/25
• Trade Facilitation/ Engaging in Research, Planning and Enforcement of Fiscal Policies of Government:
Trade cannot be said to be properly facilitated within the period under review mainly as a result of the absence of scanners which led to the burden of physical examination. The status quo remains the same in terms of operations despite the deployment of NICIS II. For one week in March, the Direct Trader Input server of the Customs nationwide was inaccessible leaving freight forwarders with colossal fiscal burdens
• Working In Collaboration With Other Government Agencies In All Approved Ports and Border Stations:
Customs made conscious efforts to groom inter-agency collaboration with sister agencies such as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, the Nigerian Army in ensuring compliance, anti-smuggling and other forms of crime combats which includes illegal commercial activities and illicit trade acts is acknowledged. Nevertheless, SON and NAFDAC have lamented that Customs fail to invite them for examination of some cargoes that would have required their presence.
The performance of the Customs in 2019 has been fair. While the aspects of revenue generation has been impressive, the recent anti-smuggling moves have been described as a scam as Customs allegedly officers connive with the importers and agents to encourage smuggling, only to inform other units of the illicit consignments.
Total Score 43/100
Grade = D (43%)
Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology
Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) is charged with the responsibility of providing professional training for middle cadre managers on the areas of transport and logistics and also conducts research and offer consultancy services to both public and private transport and logistics organizations.
The institute’s functions are as follows and each function will be given 20 points.
Serve as a Transport Intelligence Centre for monitoring transport and logistics systems
During the time under review, the agency did not record any activity in this area. Although the institute established an Intelligence Transport System (ITS) unit in Vienna, Austria to trace the movement of stolen vehicles from Nigeria in 2016.
Provide equipment and facilities for the encouragement, promotion and conduct of applied research in all modes of transport.
There was no tangible information in this regard in the first half of 2019.
Provision of courses and training programs for senior and middle cadre managers, technicians and technologies suited for employment in all modes of transport.
NITT, in the first half of the year, trained 116 drivers from Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) on the rudiments of defensive driving and safety techniques. The training was informed by the growing need to equip the drivers with requisite modern skills and competencies for efficient and effective transport and logistics operations.
Provision of courses of instruction leading to the award of Advanced Certificate in Transport Studies (ACTS) and Post Graduate Diploma in Transport (PDG) with three distinct specialized areas: Transport Management, Transport Planning and Transport Technology;
NITT did not provide any courses that will lead to the award of these certificates in the first half of the year.
Carrying out research and consultant services to both government and private organizations in Nigeria and West African sub-region; and Publication of research activities through journals and other media
No research was conducted from our investigation.
NITT is an agency saddled with the arduous task of professionalizing all cadres of players in the nations transport sector. There is no indication that the agency is working towards achieving this feat. The institute did not record any notable achievements in the first half of the year. However, with the appointment of Dr Bayero Salih-Farah as the new Acting Director-General/Chief Executive (D-G/CEO) of the institute in May, we hope that NITT will carry out its duties more effectively.
Grade F (25%)
Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT)
Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) is responsible for performing training on Aviation personnel. The College boasts of more than 50 years of experience in providing human resource development in the aviation industry in Africa and is well on its way to becoming a reputable global provider of aviation training. NCAT undertakes training programmes to meet both national and international requirements. Training is also provided in non-aviation specific areas such as computer equipment maintenance and satellite communication principles. The college’s aviation training programmes are also in conformity with ICAO standards and recommended practices.
In response to emerging needs in the air travel sector, NCAT, in the first half of the year, took fresh steps to boost capacity and training infrastructure within the country. NCAT also commenced a catch-them-young initiative, reaching out to potential pilots and engineers in secondary schools.
The college has a team that reach-out to secondary school students through career talks with the aim of catching them young. ICAO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA)in the year, had revealed that there was going to be severe shortage of pilots in coming years based on the aircraft orders and the ageing workforce.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) also disclosed plans to increase its modern training aircraft to 14 this year.
The Rector of NCAT, Mohammed Abdulsalam, noted that the federal government had given approval for NCAT to acquire 20 Diamond aircraft, comprising five DA42 twine engine and 15 with DA40 single engine. These acquisitions in addition to the eight serviceable aircraft already being put in use by NCAT will increase the number of training aircraft for students to 14.
Over the years, NCAT has been sending its firemen to Cameroon for training. However, this year was an exception as an automatic fire simulator was installed at to provide training for fire officers, which was hitherto done in Cameroun and other countries. This development shows that the college is safe and conducive for learning for foreign and local students.
NCAT with the sponsorship of Bristow provided necessary Aircraft Maintenance Engineering skills to the trainees at the end of a 90-week rigorous Airframe, Power Plant and abridged Avionics course. Bristow is investing over N100 million towards the training of 20 qualified Nigerian graduates at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.
According to Bristow, over 80 graduate candidates were initially selected for the program. 20 candidates emerged on merit following which Bristow has offered full sponsorship of their training at NCAT.
Having objectively looked into the performance of the roles expected of NCAT, the institution is scored: 40/100
NCAT made notable improvements in the sector in the first half of the year. However, a lot is still expected from them in the aviation industry.
Council for the Regulations of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
CRFFN was established to address the complexities and global demands in the import and export business as it relates to freight forwarders and clearing agents. The agency is saddled with the responsibility of regulating and controlling the practice of freight forwarding, ensuring optimum standards and professional conduct of practitioners.
However, CRFFN’s performance in the first quarter would be assessed based on five identified statutory functions below with each function carrying 20 marks.
Accrediting, regulating and controlling associations of freight forwarders to ensure professionalism in the industry:
Since the inauguration of the Governing Council took place in the last quarter of 2018, it was expected that in the first half of 2019, CRFFN would make strides in accrediting, regulating and controlling associations of freight forwarders to ensure professionalism in the industry but nothing of such has happened.
Score = 5/20
To determine who constitute freight forwarders and to regulate and control the activities of registered practitioners:
A large chunk of freight forwarding practitioners still don’t have CRFFN certification, hence the difficulties in regulating their activities.
Score = 5/20
Ensuring uniform standards of professional conduct and education relevant to freight forwarding practice:
As part of effort to ensure high professional standards of practicing freight forwarders, CRFFN has gone into partnerships with the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) for training practitioners. The Registrar of CRFFN, Barr. Samuel Nwakohu has reiterated the Council’s commitment to empowering the freight forwarders as an avenue to grow the nation’s economy.
Score = 15/20
Encourage participation in international exchange programme and promoting the highest competence, practice and conduct among members:
The only category of practitioners who have enjoyed this global training have been those in the Governing Council. However, there hasn’t been an event or programme so far to promote the objectives above.
Score = 7/20
Establishment and maintenance of registers of persons entitled to practice as registered freight forwarders and the publication from time to time of the list of such persons:
CRFFN should be prompt in publishing updated registers to keep the importers, exporters and the general public abreast of qualified persons to consult for freight forwarding practice. There isn’t proper digital record keeping for the registered freight forwarders in CRFFN. However, the Governing Council has expressed readiness to solve this problem.
Score = 8/20.
There seems to be more zeal and urgency in the manner CRFFN has gone about addressing some areas of its core functions in the first half of the year. The Governing Board and the Registrar are on the same wave length engaging necessary stakeholders, institutions and organizations as part of efforts to revolutionalize the practice of freight forwarding in the country. There good signs that the second half of 2019 could be more eventful and purposeful for the Council.
Total Score = 41/100
Grade D (41%)