Deep Seaports getting unwarranted attention – Shittu - Gistyou


Friday, 14 December 2018

Deep Seaports getting unwarranted attention – Shittu

The immediate past National President of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Prince Olayiwola Shittu has warned that the proliferation of Deep Seaports springing up everywhere and the continued agitation for more may further hamper the growth of the nation’s export capacities; and has called on the Federal Government to give priority attention to the development of our export base.
Deep Seaports getting unwarranted attention’
Deep Seaports
Shittu in an exclusive interview with Vanguard Maritime Report expressed worry about the possible failure of the emerging deep seaports, which he said ordinarily, is a welcome development for based on critical indices, its proliferation he notes has become political, just as he warned that government should always ensure that stakeholders are adequately carried along at the conception level for the benefit of robust inputs.

He said, “This Lekki Deep Sea Port like the one they are talking about at Badagry, Ibaka, Gelegele and the rest, when did we develop the handover that all we need to be doing is to establish new ports, because these things (new ports) are been planned to increase our level of imports without considering export that will turn around our economy, that will make our exchange rate firm and strong.”

“This Lekki Deep Seaport is here, Olokola Deep Seaport is there, some people are encouraging Deep Seaport in Koko and Warri, do you know how much it takes to maintain a deep seaport? Deep Seaports are not something to be dredged like Calabar and Warri seaports that have been giving us problems because of stilts. Why do you start thinking of establishing other deep seaports that will run into trouble within 5years? Nobody think of the future, we only think of now”, he lamented.

Shittu noted that the 2009 port concession failed because stakeholders were not adequately carried along, leaving the critical decisions only to the few relevant government agencies. “During the port concession many things were not factored in. I was the National Publicity Sectary of ANLCA, we kicked against a concession that will not involve the stakeholders, it was just the Bureau of Public
Enterprise, Nigerian Ports Authority and Shippers’ Council. Chief Adebayo Sarumi, then Managing Director of NPA was saying it will do well for us but at what cost?

He has finally admitted the resultant balkanization. That the way they balkanized the reform and what the reform threw up is not the way ports should be, and that is why we don’t have holding bays, export bays, everybody is just managing small, small areas, that’s not the way it is done.”

On the issue of physical examination of cargo and its integrity challenges, he noted that if the port concession has granted terminal operators the right to also run the cargo scanning system than what the Nigeria Customs Service has offered so far, noting that the Customs cannot efficiently provide scanning services.

“If they have given terminals the go ahead to install scanners, they will go and buy genuine, long lasting scanners, it will make the job easier for them. As the containers are coming down, they’re going through scanners and the photo of the scanned goods is already there in the system where customs, NAFDAC and all the regulatory agencies will have access. That way only 10% of cargo would have been available for physical examination.

Shittu summed up the prevailing maritime crisis as a deliberate plot by port users who does not want things to work in order to benefit themselves. “Those who are not compliant get their way in because they pay their way through. It affects those who are compliant, he becomes subject of scrutiny. So
those who are complaint gets exasperated and says ‘why should I continue to be compliant when I can be non compliant and make more money?’ That is one important factor because those regulators who are supposed to ensure that compliance is done have never given credence to those who are compliant, they just mix everything together, it becomes ‘you are guilty until you prove yourself

He dismissed regular allegations of corruption against customs agents as diversionary. “You must always find somebody to lay the blame. When you’re a regulator, a government agency, what stops you from performing your duty?

You are being paid and your job involves what government says you must do, what is your handicap, when you have the power of government behind you? You now turn around to say freight forwarders are engaged in unethical practices, when you are induced to take bribe must you take?

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