The National President, Association of Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has blamed the failure of the country to attain the 48 hour cargo clearing as proposed by the Federal Government on the inability of the Federal Ministry of Transport to fulfill its part of the 5 smart steps in cargo clearing as recommended by the Presidential Committee on Port reforms.
Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Prince Shittu noted that if the Federal Ministry of Transport was able to fulfill its own part of the bargain, Nigeria would have attained the 48 hour cargo clearance in the country adding that the non fulfillment of that was still going to drag the country further backwards in its quest to be the hub of the West and Central Africa.
He said, “The most important of my expectations in 2014 that was never realized in the maritime industry was the 5 smart steps in cargo clearing. You know, the Presidential Committee on Ports reform of which I was a member came up with this 5 smart steps of cargo clearing. The customs was able to have fulfilled their side of the bargain which is the PAAR (Pre-Arrival Assessment Report) and the ICT (Information and Communication Technology)”.
“But the other side that was supposed to be midwived by the Federal Ministry of Transport have not seen the light of the day which would have given us one stop shop of payment and cargo clearance”.
“So, if that had happened last year, we would have achieved the 48 hour cargo clearance but the non fulfillment that is still going to drag us further because all over the world, ICT is in vogue now. You can make your declaration, you can make your payment, you can do everything without going into the ports and until we achieve that utopian stage in port process, I think we have not really gotten it fine”.
“This is a major area I felt we should have done last year so that by this year we would have just fine-tuned the process”, he added.
On the non passage of the Ports and Harbour and the National Transport Policy bills, the ANLCA boss described it as a national embarrassment wondering why both the Executive and the Legislative arms of government could not expedite action on the bills which would equally affect their lives as citizens of this country.
According to him,” I am not blaming the National Assembly alone at least we need a President that would have pushed for it because most of them are executive bills, the ports and harbor bill is an executive bill, the Petroleum Industry bill is an executive bill. So, if the executive is so lackadaisical about the bills, the National Assembly will just be moping. So, that one is a national disappointment. I don’t really want to dwell on that”.