The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, has said that Nigerian ports are still grappling with high operational cost, extortion and weak application of technology.
In a document titled. ‘CPPE Half Year Economic Review’, Yusuf said that scanners were yet to be fully operational at the ports, adding that the single window was yet to take off while weigh bridges were not in existence at the ports.
He said that these issues had become intractable, appealing to the authorities to look urgently into the plight of port users.
“Port users are still grappling with high cost of operations, tedious procedures, documentation, weak application of technology and extortion. Scanners are yet to be fully operational at the ports, and the single window is yet to take off. Weigh bridges are not in existence at our ports. This is not a good commentary for the ports in the largest economy on the African continent. These issues have become intractable and we appeal to the authorities to look urgently into the plight of port users. The port is a very critical part of this economy. The port is the gateway for import and export and therefore very critical to the prosperity of the Nigerian economy.”
According to him, it was important for all agencies at the ports to have operating hours that would accommodate the nature and character of the ports.
“The activities in our maritime sector are 24-hour activities. Therefore, it is imperative for all agencies working at the ports to have operating hours that accommodate the nature and character of the port’s ecosystem. Therefore, both the shipping companies and the terminal operators should operate working hours that reflect the character of the industry in order not to impose unnecessary hardship on importers and other players in the sector.
“The current practice, for instance, is that shipping companies open at 9 am and close at 4 pm, and in-between they observe a one-hour break. Some of the off-dock terminals do not open until 11 am. Some terminals don’t even work on weekends. This practice is inimical to the operations of business and the smooth processes of international trade. Additionally, some of the major terminals do not issue Terminal Delivery Orders after 4 pm. All of these operating hours are not compatible with an efficient value delivery to importers and exporters. They are not customer friendly. Many of the terminals and operators do not have electronic payment platforms that allow for efficient transactions with their institutions,” he said.