Ikani Sunday (Zonal Coordinator, South West, Quarantine Service)
This year is one of our best seasons since the inception of quarantine, if you know our office at Ikeja before now, if you go there now you cannot recognize it again, we now have a two storey building as our offices and two storey building as a lab and it is nearing completion. The support we have received from government in this year, we have never gotten such in the history of quarantine.
Tunji Obagbo (POTEMAN)
The year 2018 came like any other year, but the performances of the maritime industry still remained politicized, there is a difference between doing things as the boss asked us to do it and doing it according to the ethics of the industry. We keep on reading of unexecuted projects on pages of newspaper. I want to salute the courage of the stakeholders for not losing it in the industry, still trusting the regulatory agencies of government. In my opinion, there is nothing to appraise, until when government recognizes the professionals and follow the local content Act to the letter and do things accordingly, this is the time Nigeria can be reckoned with in the comity of maritime nations.
Olumide Fakanlu (Chairman Apapa Chapter, ANLCA)
It has been well with the maritime sector, except for one or two things that affect the generality of the maritime sector. Talking about customs brokerage, the customs is improving by the day and the brokers too, we are also improving. So we can say that for this year 2018, we have reasons to thank God for everything. However, we need more education, not in grammar, but to be enlightened on the business of customs brokerage itself, vis-à-vis developments all over the world. We need information from customs, not just for them to be keeping it to themselves, all over the world we hear information about other customs than our own customs, we hear of what they are doing to improve their services to their nation and to the public, we want our own customs too to develop more relationship with the society, not just customs brokers alone, but also to the trading public so that they can now become more compliant.
Owolabi Omotayo (Water Transporter)
The situation is looking brighter , although there is still some hiccups here and there, especially in the haulage sector, considering the demurrage caused by unplanned haulage movement on our port access road, this has affected the turn over and the progress of the sector, government should look into this, you can see the thousands of cargoes stuck in traffic on the road, it shows that there is a lot of activities going on in the sector, but the proper planning has to be done in terms of evacuation. The waterways sector is also growing now because most of Lagosians are now using the waterways, and we are seeing some investors also on the waterways, some notable investors are coming and there is improvement, the safety compliance awareness is now being created, the phobia for water transportation is gradually being eradicated. What we want the government to do now is to provide assistance to boat operators so that they can buy standard boats, not all these rickety wooden boats, the country is advancing and so most of these boats are supposed to have been phased-out of the system.
Mazi J.C Nwankwo (Ex-MD, NRC)
For me, what I know is that the government is moving in the right direction in the sense that they are not investing so much in the old railway track because no matter how you are doing it you will not be able to compete in the rail sector. So they have gone into concentrating on building new lines like the Kaduna, Abuja, Itakpe, Warri and the Lagos-Ibadan. The Lagos - Ibadan, I tell you before February they will launch that rail and it is a standard gauge and it will bring a speed faster than roads. So they are following the 25 years vision to keep constructing new railways and leave the old ones.
Captain Anthony Onoharigho (VP CILT)
Basically, this new regime is trying to make things work, let’s say the first and second regimes were not good, but this last regime has been so good. Since 2015 things have been very bad in the maritime industry, even we that are in the business, we can’t make any ship, we don’t have any ship, I am into class survey, but you cannot even class vessels now again because there is nobody to class nor do anything with. So let’s see how the industry will pick up in the coming year, these past few years have been very bad.
Mr. Frank Abiodun (Task force Chairman, IFFA)
Things are getting better, the only thing the government should focus on is to decongest the ports, let cargoes move from the bonded warehouses and allow free flow of traffic in the ports because traffic is killing the industry now, especially Apapa area. We are having a lot of tension here, doing the job should be with ease, we should enjoy what we are doing, but coming to Apapa and going home has been a tug of war. The little money we are supposed to make, we are wasting it on transport and because of the congestion, and transporters have increased their fares. The situation has been worrisome, they should look at that. In terms of revenue generation we did very well and I can commend the customs for that.
Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa (Dry Cargo Chairman, NARTO)
Towards the end of the year, we have been having hard time in the area of transportation, you know things have somersaulted. We have been having serious difficulties assessing the ports, but thank God one of our major issues here which is the road issue is gradually being taken care of. Like the Apapa, Leventis road is being handled by Dangote and Nigeria Flour Mill and we are grateful to them for that. I am also grateful to the MD of the Nigerian Ports Authority for her commitment and support in the ongoing project. You know most of the issue people have been talking about is the road, last month, Tin Can, Oworoshoki axis have been flagged off by the Minister of Works, Power and Housing and we are waiting for them to commence the work. I want people to know that it is not only the road that is causing traffic gridlock at Apapa, the road issue takes about 75%, but the actual problem is the operational problems at the ports and that is what we have been facing.