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Nigerian Shippers Council seeks promotion of export trade

The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC),
Barr. Hassan Bello on Thursday called for export promotion in the country as
part of the efforts to diversify the national economy.

Bello said part of this agenda should be for the relevant
agencies involved to simplify procedures for export trade to boom.

Speaking during the visit of members of the Nigerian
Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry (NACCIMA) to the Council, the NSC
boss said time had come for Nigeria to be fully geared towards export and not
rely on oil.

He also said that what is necessary now is for the nation’s
ports to be configured for exports, adding that this is being discussed at the

For instance, he said that the Vice President was not pleased
over the report of the 2000 containers of exports that were stranded at the
ports because of the issue of certification.

Bello said that when this was reported to the Vice President,
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, he quickly instructed the Ministries to address the issue.

“We need to have a simplified export procedure. We need to
encourage export from the Bank up to the port”, he said.

He disclosed that the recent seminar held at Ibadan, Oyo
State capital, involving the Council and other agencies of government featured
prominently on how to promote export trade in Nigeria.

As part of the promotion of export trade, the Managing
Director of AM Bonded Terminal, Mr Israel Ibanga had advised during the meeting
that export containers should not be handled in the ports but in off-dock

Ibanga criticiased the shipping companies for the delay in
refunding container deposits as well as the proliferation of government
agencies seeking settlements from stakeholders, saying this was affecting trade.

The NSC boss, Bello, also described the port reform exercise
which led to the concessioning of cargo handling operations as having produced
a lot of efficiency in the system.

He said this could be seen in cargo clearance except for the
Apapa infrastructure issue.

But he added that the sufferings by stakeholders at Apapa
will soon be over with the current efforts of the government and the Lekki Deep
Seaport project.

He added that Nigerian ports have been positioned for
competitiveness, forecasting that this will year will record the highest
turnaround time which shows some level of improvement.

But Bello pointed out that there is still more work to be
done for more efficiency to be attained in the system.

According to him, every stakeholder should embrace automation
like agencies of government in the ports have done.

Bello however described the clearing procedures in Nigeria as
very primitive and cannot be found anywhere in the world.

He called for elimination of cumbersome procedures in
clearing as the only way to make Nigerian ports competitive.

He identified the much talked about National Single Window as
well as the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) as necessary to eliminate any form of
cumbersome clearing in the ports.

Maritime lawyer, Mr Mike Igbokwe, SAN, had wanted to know the
efforts of the Council in ensuring that some maritime courses are introduced in
Nigerian universities in line with the kind of training given to judges.

Igbokwe said this was necessary for law students who are
future judges to serve as guide on how to handle arrest of ships in their court.

Responding, Bello disclosed that already the Council has
engaged the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to introduce maritime law in
Nigerian universities for the interest of the maritime sector.

The President of Nigerian Association of Chambers of
Commerce, Industry (NACCIMA) Iyalode Alaba Lawson, MFR had called on the
federal government to replace obsolete policies in the maritime sector.
Shipping Day.

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