Transportation minister urged to create road map for maritime industry


The outgoing President of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Mr Eugene Nweke, has urged the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to create a road map for the maritime industry.

Nweke, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos as maritime activities closed on Friday.

He said that the minister should also critically look at uncompleted projects in the industry.

“The minster should guide us in the right direction. He should look at what governments have done in the past and find out whether they got it right,’’ the freight forwarder said.

He said that the minister should also look at how many maritime conventions Nigeria had signed and how many it had domesticated.

Nweke said that by now, every maritime nation should be working toward what he described as “African Maritime Development Strategy’’.

“We are failing in policing our waters and there should be efforts to revamp the fishing trawlers’ business.

“It is not right that we are allowing foreigners to fish in our waters and make huge monies,’’ NAN quotes the freight forwarder as saying.

He said that the nation’s maritime policies should also be properly articulated so that “we would not be a laughing stock in the league of maritime nations’’.

In the week under review, the President, Shippers Association Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol also urged the Federal Government to review import policies, especially the forex restriction on 41 items.

Nicol told NAN that the forex restriction policy had rendered activities low at the ports and impacted negatively on importers, freight forwarders and other stakeholders.

Nicol said that removing the forex restriction, would enable many industries to produce at least 80 per cent installed capacity and revamp the local industries.

The shipper suggested that the auto policy should be simplified to improve port activities, “otherwise the Port and Terminal Multiservices Ltd. (PTML) renowned for vehicle imports, would shut down’’

“If this happens, Nigeria will be losing over N800 million yearly from this source,’’ NAN quotes Nicol as saying.

The shipper suggested that government should build holding bays outside the ports for commodity exports, where examination and sampling of export items could be conducted before moving them into the ports.

He said that the Tin-Can Island port was built for that purpose.

According to him, conducting examination of export cargoes in the ports will induce congestion and corruption.

Also during the week, the Federal Operations Unit (F.O.U.) of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Zone `A’ Ikeja, Lagos impounded smuggled rice and poultry products with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N26.41 million.



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