There are fears that the much-expected take-off of . the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) may suffer another setback and delays following the recent exit of Mr Emmanuel Jime as the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council (NSC).
Jime who was removed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Shippers Council by President Bola Tinubu had assured maritime industry stakeholders about the imminent implementation of the CTN.
He had in a recent interview with our correspondent just weeks before his removal, provided an insight into the progress made and the challenges being faced by the CTN.
He explained that significant progress had been made, with the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granting approval for a consortium of companies to carry out the CTN process. However, he candidly revealed that the\ NSC had encountered a substantial roadblock in the form of complex legal document structuring, delaying the project’s take-off.
“The delay was first and foremost attributed to processes and stages that we needed to go through for implementation to begin”, Jime had explained. “We haven’t quite arrived at that stage. So presently, we are consulting with relevant authorities and all stakeholders involved”, he added.
However, it now appears that Jime’s departure has cast doubts on the future of the CTN. The new Executive Secretary, Mr Akutah Ukeyima will need to familiarize himself with the intricacies of the CTN project. This process of briefing and adaptation may inevitably introduce further delays, pushing the much-anticipated CTN implementation date further.
Stakeholders in the maritime industry are beginning to express concerns about this leadership transition and its potential impact on the CTN. It is widely believed that the new Executive Secretary will need time to comprehend the project’s intricacies and align it with the new administration’s priorities.
While Jime had not committed to a specific timeline for CTN implementation, he emphasized the commitment of the new administration to expedite the process, acknowledging it as a “low-hanging fruit” in their agenda. However, with the sudden change in leadership, the CTN’s future remains uncertain, and the timeline for its implementation now hangs in the balance.
In a chat with our correspondent, a freight forwarder; Mr Tajudeen Salau said “The CTN is crucial for ensuring transparency and security in cargo shipments. We had high hopes for its swift implementation. With the change in leadership, we hope the new Executive Secretary can quickly grasp the project’s significance and drive it forward” he said.
On his part, Mr. Festus Ukwu, the National Secretary of the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents (NCMDCLA) stated that: “Although the decision on the Cargo Tracking Note has been taken before Jime was removed, even though some of us favourably disposed to it, but let’s wait and see what the new Executive Secretary will do about it” he said.
Also speaking, Dr. Eugene Nweke, Secretary of the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC), and former President National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) had also in a recent chat with our correspondent weighed in on the matter, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive discussion regarding CTN implementation.
Nweke mentioned that the CCC intends to request a thorough and healthy dialogue with the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to ensure that the CTN becomes a valuable addition to the port value chain, rather than just a revenue generation tool. He stressed that the goal should be to make CTN implementation an inclusive and sustainable practice, considering the interests of the trading public.
He said the CTN should not be perceived as a mere trade document contraption solely for revenue generation objectives. He further indicated that the CCC’s support for the CTN application stems from its relevance to Customs operational interests.
Our correspondent gathered that the future of the Cargo Tracking Note in Nigeria now rests on the ability of the new Executive Secretary to navigate the complexities of the project and the continued commitment of the government to expedite its implementation.