In a bid to compete effectively with other Sub-Sahara Africa seaports and improve the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government is set to commission the Lekki Seaport in the first Quarter of 2023 for cargos and maritime activities.
Managing Director of the Port, Du Ruogang, said President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to commission the newly developed Lekki deep seaport.
Ruogang said the container terminal operator at the facility, Lekki Free Port Terminal (LFT), was putting everything in place to give a world-class port experience in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said the Nigeria Customs Service, (NCS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), and other relevant agencies have been sensitised to play their roles in the port.
Ruogang applauded the media for its support, while urging practitioners to extend the same support to the container terminal operator, Lekki Freeport Terminal, as it prepares to begin operations.
The Managing Director said Lagos State Government has begun work on the construction of access roads to the port to ensure easy cargo movement.
Recall that many stakeholders, including the NPA, have commended the development of the new port.
They, however, expressed reservations and concerns over evacuation of cargo from the facility by road, which, they say, will create traffic gridlock along the Lekki-Epe expressway.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, had earlier said the Federal Government would not allow the use of trucks to move cargo out of the port.
Sambo charged the operators to deploy barges for cargo evacuation from the Lekki Port.
By: Stories by Chinedu Wosu
29 Ships With PMS,Others Arrive Lagos Ports, Today
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says a total of 29 ships conveying petroleum products and other goods are expected to berth today at Lagos ports.
The Authority said the sea going vessels are scheduled to berth from 5th to 14th February, 2023 to discharge cargos.
This was contained in the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) Weekly Shipping Position Magazine made available to The Tide at the Weekend.
The Manifest listed the items expected at the port to include Bulk sugar, frozen fish and Bulk urea.
Other cargos laden in the expected ships include Bulk gypsum, General cargo, Butane gas, truck, and soya bean meal.
The magazine also listed Bulk wheat, bulk salt, Bulk fertilizer, Diplomatic, container and petrol.
The NPA stated further that 13 ships were already discharging general cargo, petrol, container, base oil, soya bean oil, bulk gypsum, bulk urea, jet fuel, automobile gasoline and frozen fish.
The Authority also noted that four ships had arrived the Port waiting to berth with containers, Base oil, Automobile gasoline and fuel.
NCS Laments Threatening Border Crimes
As border crimes persist in the nations boundaries, the Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) says emerging border crimes were threatening Customs operations.
The Comptroller stated this while briefing newsmen in his office to mark the end of a Three-day Global Conference on Fragile Borders, organised by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
The WCO was established in 1952 as the Customs Co-Operation Council (CCC), specifically as an independent, intergovernmental body whose mission is to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
Ali said although the primary function of Customs was to generate revenue and facilitate trade, heightened insecurity around the borders had made it imperative to be adequately equipped to work effectively.
Ali, who is the Vice Chairman of the West and Central Africa (WCA) region of WCO, thanked the Organisation for giving Nigeria the opportunity to host the conference, describing it as an honour.
Noting that the dangerous trends around the borders were increasing by the day, he said: “We are inundated by this fragile border issue in the gulf of Guinea and other neighbouring countries.
“Unfortunately, Customs is a hard hit because of the quest to rid our borders of smugglers and other border criminals”, Ali said.
He stated further that “smugglers, for instance, have become very deadly and some of our gallant officers have lost their lives in the process of trying to stop their nefarious activities.
“We have also lost properties over time and this is because these smugglers use dangerous weapons to try to deter our officers from carrying out their responsibilities.
“So, it will be foolhardy to confront such a dangerous group of people without being adequately equipped”.
Hammed Ali said the development had become dire in some border areas adding that Customs was forced to suspend operations in those places they had been declared “fragile”.
“This is a critical matter that requires needed attention and this is because if there is no security, there will be no movement of goods and services and that will affect revenue generation.
“There is a need, therefore, for total overhaul of the service in some countries because Customs officers do not carry arms in those countries.
“That ought to change now that there is so much insecurity around us.
“One of the ways we are working to ensure that Customs stays ahead of these criminals is the e-Customs platform”, he said.
Also Speaking, Secretary-General, WCO, Dr Kunio Mikuriya, said there was a need for relevant stakeholders to collaborate for better performance.
Mikuriya said WCO is a 184-member worldwide organisation in which Nigeria plays an active role, was concerned about the spate of insecurity.
He said the time had come for Customs to go beyond mere revenue generation to paying attention to security matters, adding that “without security at the borders we cannot effectively collect revenue”.
He also said there was a need for data sharing, research and development, intelligence gathering and deployment of technology in the whole exercise.
The Secretary said WCO was working out an action plan to help tackle the issue of insecurity, particularly as it affects Customs.
Today, the WCO represents 182 Customs administrations across the globe that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade.
As the global centre of Customs expertise, the WCO is the only international organisation with competence in Customs matters and can rightly call itself the voice of the international Customs community”.
The Theme of the conference was, “Enabling Customs in Fragile and Conflict Affected Situations”.
FG Set To Concession Nation’s In-Land Ports
Following the commissioning of the Dala Inland Dry Port by President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend, the Federal Government has said it would concession the six ports to private sector operators on Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
Federal Government said the six inland dry ports approved by the Federal Executive Council would be concession with the strategic framework to build, own, operate and then transfer the projects to the government
Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Mu’azu Saji Sambo, who disclosed this to newsmen at the commissioning in Kano, said the dry ports will help decongest the seaports and also take shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland.
“The Federal Government has expressed optimism that importers and exporters will benefit immensely from the inland dry ports being established in various parts of the country”, he said.
He called on national and international maritime practitioners, shipping companies, landlocked countries and port users to take full advantage of the facilities for imports and exports.
According to him, the inland dry port initiative was conceived as part of the Federal Government’s port reform programme and is to be sited at chosen locations across the country.
The Minister commended the President Buhari-led Government for its effort at developing critical infrastructure in the country, especially in the transportation sector, adding that such efforts will stand as a testimony for future generations.
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