Absence of a single- window platform at the ports has increased cargo dwell time to 22 days.
Stakeholders have said this has robbed the nation of the gains of port reforms carried out in 2006.
The stakeholders made this declaration at the 20th anniversary of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders.
While speaking during the event which held in Lagos on Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, described the situation as shameful because Nigeria’s neighbouring port of Cotonou experienced reduction in cargo dwell time from 14 days to seven days after implementation of the single-window platform.
Bello, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Monitoring and Enforcement at the NSC, Mrs Celine Ifeora, said, “Today in our ports, you will find out that although the ports are operating under concession in order to ensure reduced cost of doing business, we still have so many problems. We want to bring in efficiency but efficiency is running away from us.
“Most of the cargoes that come into our country today still undergo physical examination; even the scanners that we have, most of them are not working. Cargo dwell time is still going up.
“The last time we went for monitoring, we found out that cargo dwell time is between 20 days and 22 days; meanwhile in Cotonou, it is just seven days. Some countries have three days.
“The turnaround time of vessels at our ports is equally increasing. At some of the terminals we visited, it took them eight days; something that we achieved two months back by bringing it down to two days. Now, it has gone up again.”
Bello also observed that nearly all the countries in West Africa have put in place the single-window platform except Nigeria, which is supposed to be the giant of Africa.
While analysing the gains of the single-window platform, he said the platform would eradicate all manual processes that could bring about delay and corruption.
He said, “We don’t want people at the ports to have human contact; they can stay at the comfort of their offices and transact any business.
“Not long ago, I was in Cotonou where the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa had a programme about single window. You won’t believe that Cotonou, for example, told us that when they put the single window in place, their revenue increased by 38 per cent.
“Secondly, their cargo dwell time reduced from 14 days to seven days. We need to join people who are doing the right thing in order for us to be competitive.”
The Founder of NAGAFF, Dr Boniface Aniebonam, recounted how NAGAFF was established to break the corrupt practices at Nigerian ports; increase compliance and ensure that practitioners did not cheat the Federal Government of revenue.
He said that one of the greatest achievements of NAGAFF was the establishment of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria.
Aniebonam however lamented that today, the Federal Government was trying to hijack the CRFFN by tagging it as an agency of government.
He said that when the idea of the CRFFN was conceived by NAGAFF, it was meant to be a platform where freight forwarders could speak with one voice.
He said, “The CRFFN is not an agency of the government. The matter is already at the Appeal Court; but we shall pursue the true interpretation of the CRFFN up to the Supreme Court.”
“What I charge all of you is to abide with the law; never go against the law; but be fearless. You will attain the greatness you desire.
“NAGAFF members trained so far are more daring and determined. You are at liberty to upgrade yourself, because soonest, diploma degree will be the minimum qualification to practise as a freight forwarder.”
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