Ease of Doing Business:  Shippers Council Laments Bureaucratic Bottleneck

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has lamented that bureaucracies and bottlenecks is preventing various government agencies from effecting compliance with the Ease of Doing Business policy introduced by the Presidency.

The Council has equally said that lack of synergy amongst government agencies and the perceived competition among government agencies was hindering port operations.

Executive Secretary of the Council; Mr Hassan Bello stated this at the 2018 Continuous Mandatory Professional Training Workshop organized by the Port and Terminal Management Academy of Nigeria (POTEMAN) in Apapa Lagos, yesterday. 

Bello who was represented by a senior official of the council, Mr. Ndukwe Emenike lamented lack of automation of port processes and the continued reliance on paper-based processes. He added that there is absence of seamless transfer of information among industry players and a general lack of transparency in the activities of government agencies. 

He noted that: "In France, for example, which ranks first with respect to "Trading Across Borders" customs clearance procedures were made faster by the introduction of electronic customs declaration and eliminating the need to submit certain documents. Such initiatives may prove useful towards curtailing the current bureaucracies associated with trading across borders In Nigeria" 

"There is visible lack of investment to enhance and rebuild the country's social and physical infrastructure such as security, roads, rail, ports, as mooring equipment, towage services, access roads and dredging for barge operations on the inland waterways and power which is most critical infrastructure is a critical indicator for prospective investors and this explains the low level of investment attracted by the maritime sector in Nigeria"

"The traffic gridlock on the ports access roads of Nigeria’s leading ports is a strong pointer to the dearth of infrastructure and lack of road maintenance in the port industry’’

"Environmental challenges and pollution, there is currently inadequate checks and monitoring of the maritime environment which discourages investors", he said. 

While highlighting regulatory measures put in place by the Council in order to attain the ease of doing business, he said that the council has instituted the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) as well as Port Service Support Portal (PSSP) 

He said the council was ensuring implementation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as well as regular stakeholders' engagements and collaboration with relevant agencies especially the Customs on the implementation of Single Window system. 

He also said the council is ensuring "Mandatory automation of processes by terminal operators and shipping companies to monitor compliance" 

Continuing he said "There is a need for concerted efforts of all stakeholders to mark a clear departure from the old ways, if the nation desires to come out of the current quagmire and chaotic situation in the maritime sector"

"However, the government must take the lead in that respect by first and foremost seekln to facilitate trade, via the introduction of a Single Window system and Cargo Examination scanners to reduce both import time and export time"

"Secondly, the government must make conscious ef orts to invest in the maritime sector in order to enhance and rebuild the country's social and physical infrastructure to aid service delivery both on the seaside and the land side" 

"The above is capable of solving about 90% of the problems in the ports, particularly false declaration, bribery and . corruption, gridlock and largely reduce human contact with cargo. This will therefore guarantee berrating of Nigeria in the World Bank index on Trading Across Borders' and the World Bank Logistics Performance Index (LPI)"

In his welcome address, Registrar of POTEMAN, Dr. Babatunde Samuel said the prime purpose of the CMPT workshop is to improve the understanding and action driven task of fellows and members of POTEMAN on Federal Executive Policies. 

Babatunde also said that the workshop was to increase the networking scheme of fellows and members in the port and terminal industry through participation.

"We want to reactivate members consciousness towards the academy, so as to be acquitted with the affairs of the academy. It was also designed to remind fellows and members about their professional ideas and functions for the functionality of the port and terminal industry" he said