By Ajibola Abayomi,
May 7, 2019.
Tony Iju, the National President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) has identified unstable government policy as the bane of development of the nation’s maritime sector.
He spoke at the National Secretariat of the association during an exclusive interview with TheLead Magazine in Lagos on Tuesday.
Iju lamented the rate at which various policies and actions of government have given away benefits of the maritime sector to other neighbouring countries.
‘We need government to really get serious about the maritime industry especially at the ports. In Lagos, the ports are not accessible. Several policies and pronouncements of government are weighing us down.
‘Nigeria practically sustains Benin Republic port operations as well as Ghana, Togo and Guinea. Our ports are not structured neither do we have infrastructure required. There is need to make the ports attractive and friendly.
‘As it is now, other countries not endowed as ours are taking away of our maritime wealth. The ease of doing business as instituted by the federal government not meeting the desired expectations of port operators and business are not moving as expected.
‘Ports in the east and South-south states need to be developed to meet international standards. Really, the government should lessen politics and do the need to elicit development at the maritime sector’ he advised.
The ANCLA president pleaded for sanitisation of the ports noting that conflicting directives from agencies and parastatals of government needed to be checked.
‘If I ask you which ministry supervises the customs, you will say ministry of finance but is the ministry really taken responsibility for most of the directives ditto for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), can we really say the ministry of transportation is in charge? Multiplicity of agencies at the port is also yet to be fully addressed’.
Iju posited that until the stated irregularities were addressed, investors may not likely show serious interest in the nation’s maritime sector.