By Kenneth Jukpor
In a bid to address the multifaceted challenges at Nigerian ports, the Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called on the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency at the ports, while setting up an electronic truck call-up system.
Farinto who made this call in a press conference in Lagos yesterday, also admonished the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to be more judicious in its approvals for forex.
The ANLCA Vice President lamented that legitimate business persons are made to suffer in their bid to get forex while the apex bank has been issuing forex for pilgrims and other non-essential purposes.
According to him, the current state of forex management would further cripple the nation’s economy as more importers would lose purchasing power.
Noting that over N300million is being lost weekly to bribery and various illegal payments at the ports, the freight forwarding veteran warned the federal government to avoid a repeat of the #EndSars protest which could erupt in the maritime sector.
His words: “Right now, the young freight forwarders have been pushed to the wall and are only being told to calm down by the leaders. We have got to a point where they could be a protest. The government needs to intervene quickly in the maritime industry before aggrieved port users resort to self help. Part of the actions in the state of emergency is for government to disband the Presidential Task Team because they have not been adding value to the system and its officials are now extorting port users.”
He alleged that freight forwarders dispense bribes amounting to N280,000 per truck before they can be allowed access into Lagos ports to fetch cargoes.
He also lamented that the cost of haulage has increased astronomically by over 1000% as a result of the numerous challenges in the port environment.
The ANLCA Vice President called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to commence the electronic call up system for trucks, stating that the manual call up system was encouraging bribery and corruption on the port access roads.
He also lamented the slow pace at which the construction of the access road around Tin Can Island Port is being carried out, noting that the road construction has led to delay in delivery of cargoes.