The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, has said that Nigeria ports still remains the most expensive in doing business in the West African sub- region.
Saraki attributed the high cost of doing business in Nigerian ports to the duplicity of functions by the multiple government agencies operating in the ports.
According to a statement signed by Mr Eric Ojiekwe, Head, Press and Public Relations of the ministry, quoted the minister as saying that the high cost of port operations in the country was occasioned by duplicity of functions by operators in the ports.
The statement said that the minister spoke on Monday in Abuja, while receiving members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) led by its National President, Iju Tony Nwabunike.
The Minister also said the high cost of operations in Nigeria ports has made it difficult for Nigeria to compete with other neighbouring countries ports. She promised to make the needed changes to make Nigeria ports system attractive again.
“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 in our operations in the country,” she said.
She, however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government, through the ministry, would soon unveil plans that would bring positive changes.
Saraki commended the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) for their commitment in bringing about changes in port operations. She also urged them to always avail themselves for robust discussion as that was the only way the ministry could ascertain if policies were working or not.
News Agency of Nigeria report that the National President of the association, Mr Iju Tony Nwabunike, had earlier said the visit was to keep the minister abreast of happenings in the area she superintends.
The ANLCA president said ” If the minister is better informed, it will guide her decision making while discharging her duties,”
Nwabunike commended the ministry for ensuring the revival and growth of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria ( CRFFN).
He also said that the association was in support of the collection of Practioners’ Operating Fees (POF), adding that it would help bring about improvement in the transport chain and the training of their members as professionals.
Nwabunike, however appealed to the minister to ensure urgent repairs of the port access roads and facilitate automation of transactions at the terminals to minimise human contacts, facilitate trade and guarantee ease of doing business.