Worried that Nigeria operates the costliest seaport in the West African region, occasioned by duplicity of functions, Minister of State Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has unveil plans to overhaul operations at the ports.
Saraki, who spoke yesterday, when members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), paid her a courtesy visit, noted that the high cost of operation has made it difficult for Nigeria to compete with its neighbouring countries.
“Nigeria is supposed to be the biggest player and the cheapest player, but unfortunately, we are not. But I assure you that changes will be witnessed as we will soon be efficient and effective,“ she said.
On the issue of Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for empty containers, which also contributes to the gridlock in Apapa, she said: “the problem is not a hidden one; everyone knows that, and I assure you that we will soon unveil plans, which will surely bring about positive changes.”
Furthermore, the Minister lauded ANLCA for its commitment to bringing about changes in port operations, and urged members to always avail themselves for robust discussion, as that is the only way the Ministry can know whether the policies set by government are working or not.
Earlier, the National President, ANLCA, Iju Nwabunike, said their visit became necessary to update Saraki on the happenings in the area she superintends, so as to guide her in decision making in the discharge of her duty.
Nwabunike further commended the Ministry for the revival and growth of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, and pledged his Association’s support for the collection of Practioners’ Operating Fees (POF), as it will bring about improvement in the transport chain, and the training of members as professionals.
Enumerating the many challenges members face, he pleaded with the Minister to fast-track urgent repair of the port access roads, and also ensure automation of transactions at the terminals to minimise human interface, facilitate trade, and guarantee ease of doing business.