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Shippers Advice FG To Pay Attention To Port Infrastructure

hassan bello
Posted: Apr 6, 2016 at 3:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Shippers’ Association of Lagos State (SALS) has urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to port infrastructure.

The government, the group said, should position the ports to meet international best practices.

Its President, Mr. Jonathan Nicol, gave the advice at the Shippers’ Day and exhibition, organised by the group.

He called for the resuscitation of the informal sector of cargo management.

According to him, the informal sector will contribute about 45 per cent of the total cargo throughput (imports and exports). He said there was need to rebuild the dead infrastructure at the ports to enable individuals in the sector to assist in nation-building.

The Nigeria Customs Service’s Comptroller-General Colonel Hameed Alli (rtd), who was represented by the Zonal Coordinator Zone ‘A’, Charles Edike, praised the group for organising the event, saying that despite the low import caused by the falling of the naira, the Customs revenue collection has continued to increase.

The Customs boss said without members of the group, there would be no cargo at the port and Customs revenue would be dwindling.

The Customs boss urged the shippers and importers not to be discouraged by the downturn in the economy, saying that the country is undergoing reforms and that trade will pick up soonest.

“Before now, there was a lull in importation, but even at that, the revenue is increasing. We expect that when there is no importation, revenues should fall but rather it is increasing and this is because of your good works.

“If shippers do not carry the cargo, there is nothing for Customs to collect revenue from. I understand the challenges you are facing now, but don’t be afraid, match on. Things may be hard today, but tomorrow will be better,” he said.

The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello, who was represented by Mrs. Okam Ada, advised members of the group to export, especially non-oil exports.

Bello said so far, 27 shippers associations have been established across the country. He said these associations are formidable bodies for cargo protection.

“Shippers should endeavour to channel efforts into exportation of value-adding non-oil exports to generate revenue.

“The Council is still committed to protecting the cargo interest of Nigeria and also enjoined you to remain compliant to both national and international rules guiding global trade practices.

“The SALS have been very active. I must commend them for their doggedness and laudable ideas and I hope they continue,” Bello said.

Also, a maritime lawyer, Mr. Osuala Nwagbara, said there was the need for operators to embrace maritime arbitration to resolve issues which emanated from their business.

He said arbitrators had been in existence for more than 10 years, adding that the arbitrators had assisted several port operators to solve maritime disputes.

“We are dedicating a week in May to offer free services in solving disputes in the maritime industry,” he said.