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Stakeholders’ at lecture identify challenges, solutions of maritime sub sector

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Experts in maritime industry have raised 16-Points agenda that will pullout the sector from the woods of inefficiency and backwardness to the place of ease of doing business and productivity.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day lecture organized by PrimeTime Reporters Newspapers in Lagos, participants listed the core challenges to include poor access roads to leading Lagos port complexes.

Other issues raised by participants include observed failure of 24-hour port operation due to some perceived challenges including the non-availability of some key government officials to effectively carry out their duties and responsibilities; non takeoff of single window operation upon Nigeria started the project before Ghana; back and forth policy summersault on physical examination of goods at our ports; and frequent breakdown and malfunctioning of scanners also delay the evacuation of goods from the ports.

Other challenges include too many documentations associated with export process is said to be affecting the export business in the country; mounting of unapproved road blocks and harassment of cargo, truckers out of our various ports by Customs Officials   such as the x-squad, CG Task Force, FOU and other security agents; high cost of doing business in our various seaports; negative government policies, such as higher tariffs with specific mention of the auto policy; revenue drive on the side of Nigerian Customs to the detriment of trade facilitation; and delays in release of perishable items, raw materials and other means of production from our ports due to endless checks and documentations.

On the way forward, discussants called for timely delivery of port access roads; change in policy direction by Customs from competing for high revenue collection to trade facilitation to provision of working scanners to drive efficiency in Customs clearance.

Participants also called for speedy delivery of more parking bay and activation of Tincan Island port trucking bays to reduce the gridlock in Apapa.

Experts also called for due consultations before major maritime policies are formulated rise in remuneration and working condition of all government officials at ports; review of automobile policy; and need for 24-hour security at ports to encourage real 24 hours port operations.

In an interview, publisher of newspaper, Mr. Nwadinamuo Saint Augustine, said organized the talk shop as part of his contribution to the development of Nigerian maritime industry.

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