...Says we Lose N300million on weekly basis
Freight forwarders operating at the nation's seaport have urged the federal government to declare state of emergency at the nation's seaports, owing to the various bottlenecks confronting them in the discharge of their duty.
Addressing journalist on Tuesday, the Vice President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agent (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto lamented the various hinderances inhibiting trade and the need for government to take decision before clearing agents take laws into their hands.
Farinto lamented that freight forwarders lose an average of N300 million weekly to corrupt elements who have turned the port access road to a money making avenue for themselves.
Topping the lists of reasons the government needs to declare a state of emergency is activities of the disbandment of the Presidential Task Team which he said has since lost the essence of establishing.
Farinto alleged that freight Forwarders lose about N300 million on a weekly basis to illegal collection by some members of the task team
He informed that the illegal collection of money has now got to a point that could be described as the survival of the fittest, before a truck can be allowed entrance to the port as a result of bribery and corruption predominantly present at the port.
According to him, "it is high time federal government declared state of emergency in the Nigeria maritime industry vis a vis the fact that we are not getting it right, before now we all know we have challenges, but with what we have now, I can say it's high time federal government declared state of emergency because nothing is moving.
"Let me give you an example, I have a consignment of four containers are awaiting TDO since last week Thursday, today is Tuesday up till now we are yet to deliver the goods.
"Although, everybody has contributed one thing or the other to the problem, but I think the bulk of the problem lies with the government.
“I will want the government to declare state of emergency at the ports and we should not wait for the youth to start taking laws into their hands, government needs to do a lot of things fast before it deteriorates to self-help that may lead to a state of banana republic
"And among these issues of declaring state of emergency is disbanding the so-called Presidential Task Team because it has lost the essence of which it was created ab initio, it has been turned to a money machine and stakeholders lose an average of N300 million on a weekly basis to illegal collection by some members of the task force and it has got to a level where it is no longer the issue of bribery, now but the survival of fittest if you must survive now you must shun the queue and if you must shun the queue, you must rub somebody’s hands, so we have a situation where someone who have been on the queue for two weeks is unable to access the port, we spend minimum of N280,000 per truck for our trucks to have access into the port" he alleged.
The ANLCA vice president also lamented lack of electronic call-up system, stating that the manual call-up system is full of abnormalities that encourage corruption, while urging the government to set up an institution that will fizzle out corruption in the port
"Also another reason is that it is high time Nigeria Port Authority kick-started the electronic call up system; the manual call-up system is full of anomalies and its encouraging corruption and it looks as if the government is not ready to stop corruption, it is high time federal government established an institution that will fizzle out corruption”.
Farinto stressed that "there is need for the government to involve freight forwarders because it is the freight forwarders that know where the shoe pinches, so you cannot continue to shave our heads in our absence, so if we must get it right, stakeholders particularly freight forwarders must be involved".
Speaking further on why the federal government needs to declare state of emergency, Farinto questioned the slow pace of working ongoing on the port access roads, while alleging that there could have been a connivance between the task team and those constructing the roads in other rakes in more money
Farinto also alleged that shipping companies in the country may also have been compromised.
"Above all, it seems as if there is a gang up among the shipping companies and it looks as if it has become a cabal, we now have a situation where the shipping companies are smiling to the bank and I keep saying it, the Nigerian Shippers Council is encouraging it, because I have given them several advice on how to discourage these things and nothing has been done