Mr. Ibrahim Jibril is the new National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria and International Vice President representing Nigerian territory on CILT International Council. A position he intends to relinquish in order to effectively handle the numerous challenges on the national front. In this interview with MMS Plus, Jibril sets the agenda for CILT Nigeria under his leadership. He also appraises the nation’s transport sector, revealing how CILT could aid the growth of transport in Nigeria, and more.
What is your appraisal of Nigeria’s transport sector in the last one year and what does the future hold for the industry?
The transport and logistics sub-sector in the last one year has been that of assessment and appraisals by the federal government. There is a lot that the present government is assessing in order to come up with the best way to handle issues relating to decayed infrastructure, decadence and poor service delivery. I am glad that the government has come up with the blueprint on how to address the problem of our railways and highways.
For the maritime industry, the present administration is also reassessing the port concession arrangement to ensure that the country gets the best from the concessioning. The benefits should include; effective cargo handling services, free port access, quick turnaround time of vessels, to mention but a few.
On the part of the maritime administration, NIMASA is embarking on a structural and cultural reform of the organization in order to effectively and more efficiently tackle its port and flag state responsibilities, ensure a more productive maritime labour administration, attract more tonnage to the Nigerian ship registry, more frequent and stringent implementation of the ISPS code, etc. This is also intended to impact positively on its role in shipping promotion and developing human and infrastructural capacities to not only support the Cabotage regime but also to contribute to the world merchant fleet.
We have seen the Nigerian Shippers’ Council performing creditably well as the designated agency in charge of commercial regulation of the maritime industry.
As a Council, it has effectively championed the course of the Nigerian shippers including the Inland Container Depot (ICD) projects so as to bring shipping to the door step of the Nigerian citizenry.
We have also seen the concerted efforts of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi in transforming the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron in order to position it for the training of cadets/ mariners in line with international best practices.
Players in the aviation industry would have also seen the relentless efforts of the Minister of State in charge, Senator Hadi Sirika who is also trying to reposition the industry via infrastructural development with regards to airports and airport facilities and efficient service delivery.
As professionals, what role can the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria play in developing the nation’s transport sector?
At CILT, we want to proactively make input into the policies and strategies of government in addressing infrastructural development, wealth creation and employment generation in the logistics and transport sub-sector. Considering that logistics and transport contributes more than 12% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and been the life-wire of every human endeavour. We want to partner and support government towards having an efficient and effective transport and logistics supply chain. In the same vein, we intend to support the Federal Ministry of Transportation in its bid to transform the transport sub-sector of the economy.
In the last one year the government has made efforts to develop various modes of transport. An agreement has been reached with China to develop railways; a private driven national carrier is also set to come onboard, while a high percentage of Nigeria’s budget is allocated to the road infrastructure. Is there something else we are missing in our efforts towards transforming the transport sector?
As a nation, we would have to come up with a national transport policy that would stand the test of time, leveraging on that to design a national transport masterplan that would see to the development of the various transport modes and of course ensuring intermodalism. As a nation, we have to link the various transport modes in order to ensure that we carter for our mass transit requirements and the Nigerian citizens are availed of an efficient logistics and transportation systems.
Neighbouring ports have become transshipment points for cargoes destined for Nigeria as a result of the high port charges, low draft level and several other challenges. How do we change the status quo?
We should look at developing our infrastructure in order to solve some of these problems. We have to continuously develop infrastructure in the maritime domain. We also have to ensure that our services are the most efficient because that is the only way to guarantee quick turn-around time and attract businesses to grow the maritime industry. The only way forward is to develop our port infrastructure including port access and well trained/ competent maritime labour so as to ensure efficiency and better service delivery.
Let’s talk about security of the nation’s waterways. Insecurity has made some foreign vessels to avoid the Nigerian shores while others charge extra war risk insurance premiums for their vessels as well as the personnel onboard. What does the future hold for the nation with regards to maritime safety?
In recent times, we have witnessed a significant drop in the number of incidences of piracy and sea robbery on Nigerian waters. This is as a result of the collaboration between the armed forces, particularly the Nigerian Navy, Airforce, Army and the Marine police with other relevant agencies. The Nigerian Navy has been most effective in ensuring security of the nation’s coastal areas. We have also seen a robust collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy. There is still a lot to be done, but the way the federal government is going about it, we are sure that the nation is on the right course. With these developments, cases of piracy and sea-robbery are abating and the extra charge in terms of war risk insurance of vessels coming into Nigerian waters would be on the downward turn in the very near future and this portends that henceforth the shipping business would be conducted in a more secure and safe maritime domain.
You got about 80% of the total votes cast to emerge as the National President of CILT Nigeria. What are your short term and long term goals for the institute?
My victory was a victory for CILT because members came out in large numbers for the elections; hence we came out victorious as an institute. The members voted for people they want to lead them in the next two years. As President, I intend to encourage collective decision making in order to achieve the institute’s objectives. I want us to have an institute that all members would be proud to belong to. Logistics and transport covers all aspects of our endeavours, so CILT should be able to proffer solutions to challenges in the logistics and transport sub-sector of the economy. We are currently operating under a Royal Charter as an International body which we need to domesticate in Nigeria.
We need the recognition of the political class and as such we would be approaching the National Assembly for an Act of Parliament in line with our desire for domestication of the Royal Charter. This has a lot of advantages in terms of growing our membership, developing our professional practice, protecting members of the institute and the profession itself. This is something we are going to pursue vigorously.
Our national secretariat is the engine room for driving our programmes and projects and to this end, we intend to upgrade our facilities and adopt modern ways of conducting our business. We will make all efforts to automate our business processes which would ease the interaction between our teeming members in our secretariat and improve on our interactions with stakeholders.
Several members of CILT have lamented that they haven’t been given their certificates after completing the process. What is the matter with issuance of certificates?
I’m not sure if there such problems, however we intend to improve on our processes including release of certificates. Having being the longest serving national council member and also been on the international council, I am confident that our course delivery, examination and grading systems are in line with international best practices. Our curriculum is regularly updated to accommodate modern and technological changes in the transport and logistics supply chain across the globe.
During the CILT elections, we noticed that there was a sort of discord between members who were practitioners and others who represented the academia. However, the candidates of practitioners emerged victorious. Is this growing rivalry good for the institute?
Actually, there is no discord. What you witnessed there was just politicking because wherever there would be elections; there would be people who are for a particular candidate and those who are not. To be frank, this is a very healthy development for the institute.
What I saw in that election and at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) was that there is high level of awareness among our members who came out to participate in taking decisions on matters on the institute by electing the people they want to lead them in the next two years. In that regard, I believe it was a very positive outing and there is no discord at all.
What do you hope to achieve as the National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and transport (CILT) Nigeria during your tenure?
Before I leave office, I would love to see the Act of Parliament in place for the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, Nigeria. I believe that within the life span of this current National Assembly, we should be able to have the Act of Parliament enacted. In addition, I want to see a CILT where the industry is protected and its members are protected. I want a logistics and transport industry where the players and operators conduct themselves with utmost professional ethics. To achieve this we intend to introduce a licensing regime where actions of members would be closely monitored and erring practitioners sanctioned. We want better service delivery for and from practitioners, corporate entities and the government in the logistics and transport sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.
By Kenneth Jukpor