Two maritime groups have called for strict enforcement of seaport regulatory policies to attain 48-hour cargo clearance target at the nation’s ports. The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents and the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) made call at the maritime stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos.
The president of licensed customs agent , Mr. Lucky Amiwero, said that the actualizing of the target would remain a mirage if the policies were ignored. Amiwero, said that the target would be a herculean task because of the non-implementation of the relevant conventions guiding trade and importation. According to him, it is not achievable because the country has a lot of processes in transacting business at the Nation’s ports. “import trade is not only about transportation. In import trade, we have three components which are the procedure, process and logistics. In all these, there are procedures guiding them which we have not implemented.” He said.
The council’s president also identified poor condition of the ports access roads as an obstacle hindering the achievement of 48-hour cargo clearance. “ If you go to any port within the western zone it is blocked. You can spend almost a whole day accessing the ports, so it is a minus. If you look at our port system, international conventions that have to do with ports procedures and processes are not complied with. When we look at classification and valuation, we don’t comply with them. We value goods, we try to enforce revenue, we don’t follow the principle of value which has to do with classification,” Amiwero said.
In his view, Dr Bonface Aniebonam, the founder of NAGAFF, said that the target could be achieved if necessary structures and laws were instituted. According to Aniebonam, the attainment of 48-hours cargo clearance in Nigeria is possible if stakeholders begin to respect the rules of engagement. He said that it was possible if people were less corrupt and respected the rule of any engagement. “ The problem bedeviling our ports is human element; people are not ready to get themselves engaged in respecting the rules of engagement. Everybody knows that we need infrastructures among other things. If people are not compliant to regulations nothing will work,” Aniebonam said. Aniebonem called on the government to ensure that its agencies enforced regulations that would boost speedy clearance of goods.