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Faulty policies responsible for diversion of cargo from Nigeria—Shippers Association

Rev. Jonathan Nicol, President, Shippers Association of Lagos State

The diversion of cargoes from Nigeria to ports of neighbouring countries should be blamed on faulty import policies, the Shippers Association of Lagos State has said.

President of the association, Rev. Jonathan Nicol disclosed this in an interview in Lagos.

 Nicol said that the introduction of some policies in importation of items had led to a
downturn, which has had a negative impact on trade.
“Right from 2012, there has been a massive
downturn of imports because government introduced some import policies that
shippers couldn’t cope with, and they had to move en-mass to other African
countries, and became a threat to our economy.
“I think the import policies we mentioned
about, helped in pushing the informal sector away, which is where the money is
for now. We discovered that there were too many government agencies and each of
them had their own beats against the shipper, which ought not to be.”
Nicol said that losing about 70 per cent
of cargo to other countries was a disaster to the maritime industry because the
maritime industry story cannot be complete without mentioning cargo.
“Without the cargo you don’t have the
port. All other component that make up the port depends on the cargo; both wet
and dry cargo and we are losing so much, even wet cargo, that is, our crude
oil, everything plunged.”
Going forward, Nicol said government
should reverse some of the import adjustment policies, but decried a ‘no
response’ on the part of the ministry of finance that should be concerned with
the responsibility.
He faulted government’s ban of some basic
goods as clothing saying that it was wrong as the country had yet to operate
textile industries.
He said the harsh business environment led
companies like Dunlop and Michelin to leave Nigeria for other countries
following the perpetual power failure.
“Where is Dunlop? Where is Michelin? These
are the questions we should ask ourselves. And why did they leave this country?
It is difficult to do business here.
“If you want to put say $500 million into
an industry, you end up spending three times the amount to run the industry,
there is no use.
“Dunlop left the shores of this country to
Ghana, same thing with Michelin. First, they need power, and the power has been
Nicol said that in spite of huge amount of
money spent on building the power industry, it was still being sabotaged by
importers of generators.

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