– As Customs Calls for Stakeholders to develop SOPs
By Innocent Orok
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Thursday in Lagos , disclosed that deployment of technology has helped to increase exports throughout from 30 to 35 percent annually in the last three years at the Apapa port.
The Managing Director of NPA, Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko made this disclosure while speaking at the third JournalNG Port Industry Town Hall meeting in Lagos on Thursday.
Speaking at the event with the theme: “Essence of Automation to Productive Blue Economy,” the NPA boss who was represented by the Port Manager, Apapa Port, Mr Charles Okaga, stated that the deployment of automation has enabled the NPA to enhance its operations leading to increase in exports from 30 percent to 35 percent in the last three years.
The port manager said”For our total throughput for Apapa port, we have about 35 percent exports. Since 2021 exports moved steadily from 30 percent and it also increased further in 2022. This is attributable to the establishment of the NPA Export Processing Terminals to eliminate factors that act as a clog in the wheel of logistics and ease of doing export business.”
“We must also note that we have enjoyed port stakeholders buy-in and support from several government agencies. It is also worthy to note that the presidency through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has played a key role in driving this agenda with NPA,” he said.
The NPA boss also noted that Export Processing Terminals presently enjoy technologically enhanced connectivity to ports and other infrastructure like Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) which simplify the access to ports and eliminates delays that formerly led to expired Agro-Exports.
He explained that the vessel waiting time at the berths have been reduced to few hours, describing this as a major development from the former 1-6 day waiting time.
Also speaking, the Area Controller, Kirikiri Lighter Terminal Command of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Comptroller Timi Bomodi stressed that Nigeria’s hope of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the blue economy sector wouldn’t be realized without adequate data to guide investments.
Bomodi, however, opined that automation could be channeled towards the collation of such vital data to guide local investments, government policies and ultimately attract FDIs.
The Customs boss, however, admonished all port stakeholders to develop and publish their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and ensure they adhere to these SOPs to avail port users a high degree of certainty on port processes.
According to him, the absence of SOPs at ports leads to ambiguity and hampers the ease of doing business.
On his part, the President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Prince Adewale Adeyanju expressed concern that the rapid introduction of technology and innovations in the maritime domain will lead to massive job losses.
Adeyanju advised the relevant government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that such technological advancement aren’t at the expense of maritime workers.
In his welcome address, the Publisher of JournalNG and convener of the summit, Mr. Ismail Aniemu stressed that this talk -shop is expected to set the tone for a credible and viable maritime agenda for the maritime industry.
“Today we have a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, but the concept of this year’s theme was prepared several months ago. At that time, we never knew that the government would create a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy out of the existing Transportation Ministry.”
“Nevertheless, we know that in blue economy there are numerous low hanging fruits for economic diversification in Nigeria.
“Stakeholders and experts in this industry have used this talk-shop to project their views which are encapsulated as recommendations for the government to consider.
We also maximize the advantage of the mass media to propagate the issues emanating from the summit,” Aniemu said.