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Ports inefficiency robs economy N1tn yearly—–Joint Report

Fresh report has revealed that the Nigerian economy is bleeding away revenue to the tune of N1tn yearly.

The document jointly prepared by the Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDCL) and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) showed that the economy is losing about N1tn annually in revenue due to structured inefficiency at the nation’s ports.

Titled ‘Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports’ and commissioned by the Centre for International Private Enterprises, USA, was presented weekend in Lagos to stakeholders in the maritime sector during the LCCI public private dialogue on port efficiency and maritime sector road map.

The report, averagely made up of 57 per cent of peoples voices were made up of corporate large users of the ports; 11 per cent were from the Federal Government’s ministries department and agencies; 10 per cent from the logistics department; six per cent were freight forwarders; four per cent were terminal operators while the remaining 12 per cent were categorised as ‘others.’

Besides, 91 per cent of the respondents said that corruption was a big issue; 80 per cent said that foreign exchange crisis was top on the list of current challenges; and 85 per cent maintained that previous reforms did not succeed.

The report stated that 70 per cent of those polled had above 15 years of port experience.

“All the respondents said they experienced man-made delays, poor transportation, infrastructure and Information and Communication Technology. And they all called for reforms.

The report stated, “Nigeria’s ports have seen 3.3 per cent compounded annual growth rate in gross tonnage of 144.2 million within the past five years and an annual growth of 1.8 per cent is expected until 2021.

“Notwithstanding this progress, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report indicates that Nigeria trails far behind many smaller economies in Africa in terms of port and maritime activities. Nigeria, according to the report, ranks fourth in Africa in maritime industry by size of annual quantity of 20-foot equivalent unit in 2014.

“Specifically, Egypt ranks first with 8,810,990 TEUs; South Africa, 4,831,461 TEUs; and Morocco, 3,070,000 TEUs, respectively while Nigeria reported 1,062,389 TEUs.”

It suggested that there was a need for reforms such as enhancing information exchange on single window platform to reduce the presence of multiple ministries, departments and agencies of the government at the ports and limit the spate of human interface.

Responding after presentation, Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry Trade and Investment (Office of the Vice-President) Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, noted that the research was timely and reflected the commitment of the organisers to tackle the important issues that were imperative for the nation’s development.

Also speaking, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr. Dakuku Peterside, assured the stakeholders that reforms were currently going on at the ports to correct all the observed flaws.

He said, “The ministry is making efforts at improving port efficiency in the following areas: electronic payment facilities to enhance revenue generation, 24-hour port operations, 48-hour cargo clearance, investment in port marine infrastructure and improvement of traffic on port access roads.”

According to the minister, the Nigerian Ports Authority, terminal operators, private individuals and agencies of the government have embraced modern radio frequency system, which automatically identifies vessels or containers as practiced globally.