Nigeria’s import, export, regulatory and transit procedures are encumbered by lengthy procedures associated with unnecessary delays, high transaction cost and increase of cargo dwell time, which makes the local ports among the most expensive in the world.
These are the major factors that have bedeviled the successful regulation and smooth trade practices in Nigeria seaports, according to the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Agents (NCMDCA).
National President, NCMDCA, Lucky Amiwero, in a letter to President Buhari, said all these factors contribute to the inefficiencies in the port system coupled with low draught level of the Nigerian ports.
He described these as the main reasons the country lost the transshipment hub status to other West African countries.
Amiwero, who is a former member of the Presidential Taskforce on the Reform of Nigeria Customs Service, said there is an urgent need for reforms on import, export, regulatory and transit procedures. Such a move will help to implement integrated set policy and procedures that are globally accepted, to ensure effective trade facilitation by the reduction of transaction cost (TC), cargo dwell time (CDT) and ensure safety and security (SS) of the processes in Nigerian ports.
He said except there is a change in infrastructure rehabilitation, Nigeria will continue to lose cargoes to neighboring countries, which have deep seaports and better facilities. He also said that in a letter that Nigerian ports cannot accommodate mega ships with 8000 – 20000 TEUs, unlike what obtains in other ports. These are already positioned as “millennium ports, preferred, transshipments or load centre,” adding that most West African ports were built to accommodate Nigerian bound cargoes given the country’s poor infrastructure.
He also identified Cotonou, Lome, Ghana and Cameroun as countries, which have either completed their deep sea projects or near completion, noting that while Nigerian ports draught is between 8 and 13 meters, which cannot accommodate mega ships, the least draught in other ports is 15 meters.
He therefore called on the federal Government to wake up by designing the concept of a deep sea/transshipment centre to accommodate large E-Class vessels/mega ships of 8000 -20000 TEUs that are currently demanded regionally and globally.
The Guardian, June 5, 2019
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