Some stakeholders in the maritime sector have called for the
reduction in the number of government agencies at the seaports and a review of
some obsolete maritime polices.
The stakeholders who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos
recently said that duplication of duties by government agencies at seaports
were some of the issues in the maritime sector.
Our correspondent recalls that the Federal Government, on October, 2011, ordered the withdrawal of services of eight agencies at the seaports and reduced the number from 14 to six.
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance and
Coordinating Minister for the Economy, gave the order during an inspection of
the Lagos ports by the National Economic Team.
The minister said that ports’ operations must be streamlined
to enhance efficiency and reduce costs as obtained in developed economies.
President of the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria,
Mr Zebulon Ikokide, told newsmen that the bane of the maritime sector was too
many supervisory agencies at the ports.
“There are too many agencies in the Nigerian maritime
sector. Even though the number has been reduced, those left are still hindering
the progress of the sector.
“If you go to the ports, you will find the NPA, Nigeria Customs
Service, NAFDAC and NIMASA,’’ Ikokide said.
President of National Association of Government Approved
Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr Eugene Nweke,
urged players in the maritime sector to initiate bills to move the
“We want to see a situation where bills are passed and
signed into laws devoid of vested interests.
“The Ports and Harbour Bill should be facilitated and made
to work and the National Transport Commission Bill should also see the light of
“The nation cannot boast of being a maritime nation when it
does not have its own shipping fleet,” he said.
Mr Olu Akinsoji, a marine engineer, told newsmen that one of
the good steps taken by government was the draft legislation on unlawful acts
Akinsoji said that the nation would be able to address the
issues of piracy and armed robbery in Nigerian waters if the legislation was
passed through the National Assembly and appropriate actions taken.
“The current procedure adopted by NIMASA against armed
robbery and piracy is a fire-brigade approach.
“How do you arrest and prosecute offenders, when you don’t
have the legislation in place in line with international standard’’ Akinsoji
Dr Boniface Aniebonam, Founder of National Association of
Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), advised the Federal Government
to re-establish the Nigerian National Shipping Line.
He said that the nation was losing a lot of revenue to
foreign shipping lines.
Aniebonam said that some of the laws governing the port
industry like the Customs and Excise Management Act should be reviewed.
“We have not made efforts to join the global trend in
logistics management. This means that the multi-modal transport system is not
operational in Nigeria.
“ The ports must be linked with the rails where cargoes can
move from conventional ports to the terminals,’’ he said.
Aniebonam said that government had not achieved the
objectives of the ports concession programme.
“With the concession policy, the cost of doing business in
the ports should have dropped by 30 per cent in the first year.
“The concession policy of government is supposed to reduce
the cost of doing business in our ports, but what do we have today.
“The cost of doing business at the ports is higher and this
has not created opportunities for competition with the neighbouring ports,’’ he
Another issue which the stakeholders, especially freight
forwarders, are worried about is the introduction of transaction fees by the
Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
CRFFN has imposed transaction fees of N1, 000 on 20 foot
container and N2, 000 on 40 foot container a move President of ANLCA, Mr
Olayiwola Shittu, is opposed to.
Customs Cautions Officers On Improper Dressing, Unkempt Beards
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has threatened to sanction its officials for improper dressing and unkempt beards. Other minor violations include use of name tags.
This was contained in a memo issued by the Deputy Comptroller General, Human Resources Development of NCS, A.T. Babani.
The memo number HRD/2021/026 titled: “Introduction of Customs Police Caution Slip in the Service” was dated 10th September, 2021.
The memo stated that the caution slip would be issued in triplicate for minor offences such as improper dressing, use of unapproved name tags, and failure to shave among others.
The service said it has introduced the use of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
The memo reads, “I am directed to bring to your notice that the Comptroller General of Customs has approved the usage of Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) as a law enforcement tool in the service.
“The slip which will be administered by the Customs Police Unit of various Zones/Area Commands would be in triplicate and once issued, a copy shall be forwarded and inserted into the officer’s establishment file.
“The issuance of the Customs Police Caution Slip (CPCS) will include offences such as improper dressing, multi-colour waist belt other than approved one and usage of unapproved name tag, failure to shave, and other sundry minor violations of the second regulation 13 of the Customs and Excise Management Act CAP LFN of 2004 as amended.
“The caution slips would serve as a proactive tool to ensure compliance to rules and regulations.
“First-time offenders, repeated offenders and consistent pattern of offence identified, shall be documented and used for strategic decisions making”.
Stakeholder Tasks RSG, MWUN On Piracy
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, says the union and the state government need a strong synergy to tackle the act of sea piracy and all forms of criminal activities in the state’s waterways.
Chairman, MWUN, Rivers state Branch, Comrade Jonah Jumbo, in an interview with The Tide, noted that unlike in Lagos State, there was no synergy between the Rivers State Government and MWUN to curb piracy on the waterways.
“We need to work together to checkmate all forms of criminality, sea piracy and attacks on passenger boats in our waters”, Jumbo said.
Comrade Jumbo insisted that the state government and the union were working in parallel lines, hence the high rate of piracy on the waterways.
Jumbo said, lack of synergy between the state and the union was having negative turns in its operations, thereby not improving marine transport business in the state.
The chairman said the union alone cannot solve the problem of insecurity in the waterways, hence the need for collaborations between the state government and other relevant authorities.
He further noted that Lagos State was doing well in marine transportation because there was a strong synergy between the state government and the union.
“Lagos state maritime business is improving every day with more fleets because the government, stakeholders and the union are working towards ensuring success”, he said.
By: Chinedu Wosu
Inadequate Facilities At MAN Worry Mariners
The Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) has lamented lack of simulators for training of cadets at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron, Akwa Ibom State.
The body also decried lack of ocean-going vessels to enable the cadets of the academy acquire the mandatory sea time experience.
NAMM President, Capt. Tajudeen Alao disclosed this during an interview with newsmen, recently.
“Training at the Academy had always been as per the International Maritime Organisations (IMO) model courses”, he said.
Capt. Alao said the shortcomings have always been in the areas of lecturers, simulators and international trading ships for practical exposure.
Other challenges include lack of funding, bureaucracy and the Nigerian factor.
“Leadership of the academy too has not been based on professionalism but political consideration. The shipping companies who are end-users have not committed their services to the academy.
“The number of students per class is much more than what is obtainable in the western world.
“There are no core ship-related courses, not many courses, facilities and disciplines,” Alao said.
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