Lukman Abayomi (ANLCA)
If they put corruption aside, they can make it work. Subjecting containers to examination does not have any problem, the only problem we have is at the CPC, we are delayed for five days, the officers need to be re- orientated because all they are after is to collect money from importers and their agents.
Some agents are not doing the right thing, so these cause delay, because they intend to cut corners and become millionaires over night not minding the consequences.
Adeola Ogunbote (Importer)
I would prefer not saying yes or no, since they have 60 days to operate, if well utilized, and they are really committed to their work, by not yielding to temptation on the side of some corrupt importers and their agents, it’s definite that their efforts will surely yield results.
Most of the committees like these when they set them up or brought to the port locations, they seem to believe they have come to tap from a drill or something and they forget what their main mission is.
Agents needs to be educated by their newly inaugurated council irrespective of the association each party belongs to, in order top perfect the decongestion exercise.
K.K Olayiwola (Task Force Coordinator ANLCA)
They should put necessary measures like reducing the number of officers at the CPC, because there is too much duplicating of duties, they only extort agents.
Customs should facilitate trade by meeting with shipping companies to bring their manifest a week before the arrival of ship,
Alh. Idowu Owoade (Agent)
The task force idea is ‘soldier go, soldier come’ syndrome, though its good, because it serves as control measures, but when the time is completed, everything comes to the same old story, there is no miracle that the task force can perform, I don’t think it will work.
They create opportunity for themselves while decongesting the ports, they collect what we call appreciation fee, how long will these continue if we must improve?
In most cases those who constitute the task force are those closer to the CGC, so what’s new in the process.
Compt. Hanatu Suleiman (CAC, Apapa Command)
The current congestion is one of the sad aspects of the port operation and has brought untold hardship to all operators.
We should reflect on past port congestions, understand our present situation and make effort to secure our future against similar occurrences.
We must not loose sight of the fact that opportunities still abound for us to get our acts right, we must resist the urge to act territorial and blame one another at every slight opportunity.
To make things work, every stakeholder involved must apply integrity and excellent ethical conduct in the discharge of their respective obligations.
Dr. Bernard Shaw Nwadialo (CGC)
I am optimistic that a common front will be forged to address the situation. The procedure put in place for clearance of the affected goods is simple, straight forward and short. Deliberate efforts were made to remove all encumbrances, without compromising our concerns for security and control.
The system itself will be based on effective use of customs e-payment system, whose roll out we have just recently completed in Apapa port.
This task force presents a second chance for our importers to turn a new leaf and ensure honesty in declarations and diligence in their documentations, because government has graciously conceeded to open a window of concession by allowing the clearance of these discrepant importations.
All mentioned process by the customs won’t help without considering the above because a tree doesn’t make a forest, it needs a collaborative effort, from every stakeholder.
The customs should adopt principles of evacuation across all the terminal, I am also aware of the fact that importers Association secured a space that can accommodate about 14,000 containers.
Chuks Okereafor(terminal operator)
Setting up a task force is just an ad-hoc arrangement and Nigeria is always doing it, but I want to tell you that this task force on port congestion cannot solve the problem, we need to first of all ask ourselves what is causing it, it is simply because the volume of trade has increased and there is no space for operation. Task force only creates more jobs for people to make money; they will just come, go round and at the end of the day they pass blames on people.
Even if agents and operators cooperate with them, it will still be a temporary solution that cannot last. What we need are people who will invest in the maritime industry to build more storage facilities and build more bonded terminals. Instead of creating this task force, the government should understand that the number of containers coming into the country has increased; it cannot be compared to past years so there must be more spaces to accommodate them.
Paul Ukemu (clearing agent)
In fairness to the body that put the task force together, I want to say that if they are honest and do not put personal interest before anything, then, things will work out fine. But if they do, it will not work, because they will just go and enrich themselves. So what I think is that the task force should imbibe sincerity in carrying out the work that has been given to them and it is only then that they can succeed.
However, they have just commenced operations so I can’t say yet my level of faith in them, but with the calibre of people that constitute the task force, they might finally come out with a lasting solution to port congestion