The Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Muhammed Bello- Koko, has expressed concern over multiple Customs checkpoints, creating cargo clearance delays at the nation’s ports.
Speaking to journalists on the sideline of a two- day retreat organised by the Federal Ministry of Transportation, in Lagos on Friday, Bello-Koko also decried the manual inspection of goods by Customs at the port due to absence of cargo scanners.
He said the NPA had written to the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali, to address the multiplication of checkpoints to achieve seamless cargo evacuation from the port.
“We have instances where you have multiple customs checkpoints within the port itself. We have written to the CG of customs and we are collaborating with him to bring an end to all of that because Customs is a partner agency in our operations at the port.
“We also have cases where inspection of goods at the port is done physically because of lack of scanners and we are encouraging the Nigeria Customs Service to procure these scanners. We heard that there has been an approval by the Federal Government for procurement of these scanners,” he said
Last week, Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, blamed the inefficiency of Customs for Nigeria’s loss of cargo to ports of neighbouring countries.
According to her, the NCS has become a hindrance to trade facilitation in Nigeria.
“We cannot compete because we are not efficient. While the Benin Republic and Cote d’ Voire are using scanners, we’re still opening containers and doing 100 per cent examination of cargoes. This has contributed to a loss of cargo to these neighbouring ports,” Saraki had said.
Speaking on the achievements of NPA, Bello-Koko said the Authority had acquired more security patrol boats to ensure safety of vessels and crews when they berth at the nation’s ports adding that most of its operations had also been automated.
He said, “We have been able to buy some marine equipment, tug boats, pilot cutters and mooring boats.
“We have also brought a lot of security patrol boats to ensure the safety of vessels and crews. There has been some rehabilitation of some quay walls and structures within the port. We have also procured working tools for our staff to ensure they have better working tools.
“We have also improved our processes introducing automation in virtually all our activities within the port system. The port reform of the NPA has brought in efficiency after the concessioning of the port.”