By Innocent Orok
The Nigerian ports is witnessing down time due to like of infrastructures like scanners, port access roads and numerous government agencies with overlapping functions. These was contained in a paper presentation made by IJU Tony Nwabunike, National President of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents ( ANLCA) in a Conference with the theme “Seamless Port Operations in Nigeria”. The event was organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos on Friday..
The ANLCA President also identified non functional railway system, corruption and sabotage as the bane of seamless port operations in Nigerian ports. His paper which was titled “The Role of Customs Brokers in Seamless Port Operations in Nigeria,specifically noted that low capacity utilisation in Nigerian ports is another barrier in the system.
Nwabunike stated that countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are already enjoying seamless port operations, while Nigeria known to be the giant of Africa is still lagging behind.
“ According to him “For example, billions of Naira are being realised daily for government by Customs coming mainly from Import/Excise duties on consignments handled by Customs Brokers. Available statistics revealed that Customs generated N1.5 Trillion in the 2020 fiscal year and N1.3 Trillion in 2019.As such, Customs Brokers through payment of import duties contributed significantly to the whopping sums generated by NCS.
“Therefore, a Customs Broker plays important role in cargo clearance, which paves the way for revenue collection for optimum economic growth. In that capacity, he needs the skills and expertise in the classification of goods, valuation, admissibility requirement, and rates of duty on monetary taxes needed by the government as import duties for goods coming into the country.
“For instance, in the United States, which is the world’s largest economy and other advanced countries, a Customs Broker must meet certain requirements by passing the appropriate examination before being granted a license to operate,” he said.
In his welcome address, the President of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), Mr. Paul Ogbuokiri called on the Federal government agencies operating in the maritime industry to buckle up their loose ends in ensuring seamless operation in the Nigerian ports.
He advised the new management of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to join hands with other government regulatory bodies in ensuring Nigerians see the full benefits of the Blue economy project. Ogbuokiri urged the NSC to embrace its responsibility of protecting the cargo interest of Nigerian shippers and ensure efficiency in the logistics chain.
The high point of the event was the presentation of awards to deserving Nigerians who have make their marks in the maritime industry among them were , the Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade ADEWALE ADEYANJU and National Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto.
Others are the Customs Area Controllers of Apapa and PTML Commands of the NCS, Comptroller Malanta YUSUF and Comptroller Festus Okun respectively. National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Abdulazeez Mukaila, Lagos Area Manager NIWA, Engr. Sarat Lara Braimah, National Financial Secretary of ANLCA, Hajia Bola Muse, Muritala Mohammed Airport Cargo Chapter of ANLCA and Mr Segun Alabi.
The event also witnessed the unvailing of the AMJON Express Magazine. The Magazine which is first of his kind in the maritime industry is to be published quarterly by the leading maritime media group and will serve as a mirror x-raying the maritime industry activities.