The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has said that it lacked the basic information that would enable it to properly assess the performance of the maritime sector in the last one year.
Speaking in an interview with Primetime Reporters in his office on Monday, the National President of NAGAFF, Dr. Eugene Nweke stated that for one to effectively assess the performance of the sector, such a person may require information such as the Gross Registered Tonnage as well as the number of ship calls at the nation’s ports in the last one year.
Nweke said,” we want to hear from NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency) to give us the total registered tonnage that came into this country. They should be able to announce that so that we will be able to assess their revenue base, what they garnered in as revenue accruable to the government in their operation. That has not been announced to us”.
“We are also looking at the NPA (Nigerian Ports Authority) to tell us the number of ship calls at the ports and at the same time telling us the total net tonnage of vessels and the number of TEUs, bulk cargoes that have come into the country. We want the statistics that will enable us to know whether we have performed very well looking at the cargo throughput comparing it with that of 2013”.
“So, without these two reports, we cannot really measure because it is when we have reports of cargo throughput from NPA we now start asking questions why did we have a higher throughput in 2014 than in 2013. Then in that case, we now start to look at the factors that have to do with demand and supply”.
Dr. Nweke however observed that the cargo throughput was expected to be higher in 2014 than it was in 2013 as according to him, 2014 being a year preceding election year which is 2015, government was expected to shop more for the purpose of campaigns and its ancillary goods.
“So then, if it did not soar up, what are the constraints? We now begin to talk about the gridlock at Apapa throughout last year where man hours were spent on the hold up and no production and that made Apapa the worst port in the world in 2014”.
“So, we don’t have these critical information made public, there is no point assessing the year 2014 because it is a year preceding election year and the government at the centre who is willing to stay put in power will always not attend to so many issues”, he said.
He therefore called on the NPA and NIMASA to immediately publish the 2014 maritime statistics so as to enable stakeholders assess the performance of the maritime activities in the last one year with a view to improving in the areas that required improvement thus marching on towards making the nation’s ports the hub for West and Central Africa.