CEM ANALYSIS | Trade with other countries which form the main stay of the Nigerian economy has had serious challenges over the years arising from inefficiencies at the nation’s ports with its negative impact on the image and economy of the country
Being an import depended country, current high price of commodities in Nigeria is substantially affected by the cost of importation which also is substantially determined by cost of custom clearing and port operations.
Revenue losses by the government to our neighboring countries as well as poor image portrayed by the state of our ports has been monumental.
Leadership Newspaper reported in October last year that Nigeria has lost an estimated N650 billion due to cargo diversion to neighboring countries in the last five years, translating to an annual loss of N130 billion between 2015 and 2020.
Land locked countries such as Chad and Niger Republic, which, before now, were using the country’s ports as transit points have diverted to Nigeria’s neighbouring countries of Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.
The recent deployment of scanners into our ports and border post has been seen as major step in addressing some of these challenges which will have a three-fold impact in restoring efficiency to our ports and facilitating trade between Nigeria and other countries.
Former Executive Secretary/Registrar at the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria and Lecturer at the Transport Department of Redeemer’s University Ede, Mr Ademola Benson Irinyemi sees the deployment of the scanners as a major step towards making our port friendly and attract the desired patronage by importers.
“Ports must be friendly for it to attract patronage. Our ports have been unfriendly; access roads have been so bad, service charges have been so high, and so many barriers that are self-created. These have been there over the years and have become a burden on importers and freight forwarders”; Irinyemi said.
Mr Irinyemi said these “challenges in port clearing have had significant impact in the cost of imported commodities through additional cost from demurrage.
“The deployment of the scanners to sea ports and border posts for me is a good development. Going by the record, we were told that the scanners will screen the 20ft container in 35 seconds and the 40ft container in 65 seconds.
“With this and as we are also told, the scanners will screen 400 containers daily, 800 containers within two days, and 1,200 containers within 3days.”
Mr Irinyemi has viewed the benefits of this development in three perspectives; benefits to the Federal government, importers/freight forwarders and the Custom Service.
Mr Irinyemi says; “providing these functional equipment for enhanced freight facilitation will restore patronage to our ports, neighboring countries will begin to use our ports again and our government will make more money.”
He added; on a larger scale, it means that we are beginning to inject the right input to facilitate trade within the West African sub-region. Nigeria need to exhibit some level of advancement in trade facilitation if we must retain the ‘giant of Africa’ status we claim.
One of the major headaches of importers and freight forwarders Nigeria is demurrage; huge additional cost is often incurred due to additional time cargo spends at the port which is usually as a result of inefficient port and custom operations.
“The scanners deployment is good news for the freight forwarders as it will help avert the problem of demurrage. It will make them more efficient since they will deliver within time as scheduled.
“To that extent, it will bring some degree of credibility to the freight forwarders, their word can now become their bond”; Irinyemi told CEM
Nigerian Custom Service
The transport expert to CEM that “Nigerian Custom Service is expected to operate in enhanced efficiency with respect to service delivery. People will begin to see Nigerian Custom as more responsible, efficient, productive and reliable.
Operators will now be happy to go through the Custom’s and Port operations. Business will become productive as delivery will be faster.”
“With scanners in place, things will change for good for the freight forwarders, the Nigerian Custom Service and the Federal Government”; Ademola Irinyemi concluded.
Ademola Benson Irinyemi is a lecturer in the Department of Transport Management in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State. He is also a consummate professional in the Maritime industry.
He was the Executive Secretary/Registrar at the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria and Registrar at the Institute of Shipping.
Ade holds a B.Sc in Management from the University of Education Winneba, Ghana, Masters in Transport Planning from Lagos State University, and Masters in Management (Logistics and Supply Chain Specialty) from the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State.
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