…Tasks Private Sector To Take Advantage Of Marine & Blue Economy Ministry By Aquiring Vessels
Stakeholders operating in the Maritime sector has called on the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola to come up with regulations that would add value to cargo clearance in Nigeria.
Stating that it takes weekes to clear cargoes from Nigerian Ports when compare to other countries like American and British Ports which takes 24hours, and 3-days to release cargo in South Korean Port.
Former President of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Prince Olayiwola Shittu disclosed this on Saturday at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, during The Omis Award 2023, a maritime and offshore award event puts together in celebrating outstanding achievement within the Maritime and offshore industries.
Prince Olayiwola Shittu who is one of the panelist at the event, with the theme :”Safety and Security in Maritime”, hinted that cargo clearance in Nigeria poise to be one of the most difficult as cargoes can be released within 24 hours in America and Britain, about three days in South Korea but almost two months in Nigeria.
According to him, this calls for an urgent need to find out what is wrong with Nigeria cargo clearance procedures. He added that all the Federal government agencies inside the port today have been empowered to raise IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) which is outside their budget, so people are more interested in the revenue they would collect Internally, than the ones they would collect for government.
Prince Shittu observed that Customs Licensed Agents are at the receiving end on areas of importations of illicit goods into the country because whenever a cargo is intercepted, only the agent in most cases are swiftly arrested.
Meanwhile it’s only the shippers that knows what he is importing, the freight forwarder does not have an idea of what is inside the cargo, until when he gets to where he would conduct cargo examination with Customs and other agencies that he suddenly found out that it is a dangerous cargo.
He added that Customs brokers go through the documentation process with government agencies on behalf of the importer. Stressing that the body designed to regulate affairs of the Customs brokers and the freight forwarders, CRFFN are falling short in their responsibilities, partly because the Ministry never thought well of the important of their regulation .
In his words “This is why we are clamouring that this new Ministry of Blue Economy, both on the sea and on land, must be alive to its functions because we are representative of the shipper who keeps you in the dark and you take a risk by coming forward to do declaration because you are licensed by the Customs, and liable for what your principal does”, Prince Shittu stressed.
Also speaking as a panelist at the Maritime and Offshore Awards, the Chairman of Starz Investments Nigeria Ltd and former President of Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) Eng Greg Ogbeifun tasked the private sector to take advantage of the new ministry in order to aquire vessels.
Eng Greg Ogbeifun who commended the Federal government for establishing the new Ministry, Marine and Blue Economy states that the ministry would not thrive without the establishment of a national shipping fleet.
He added that participating in the Blue Economy in the maritime perspective will work well by going back to reestablishing the Nigerian fleet. “It could be a private sector driven initiative, it is definitely not for the public sector, at best, it could be a Public Private Partnership initiative but we must go global if we want to participate or say anything in marine and blue economy.
“In going global, we need to look at the hindrances why the steps taken to reestablish the National Fleet failed, so that the new government can overcome these impediments.
“Some of us have been privileged to serve in various government committees, including the last one set up by former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi. He had wanted to reestablish the National Fleet, so, we came out with various report.
“The summary is that we have come out with various recommendations which this present government needs to go and look at and address. In a matter of months, we are going to have different entities, private sectors who have the means of attracting investments that would buy ships that can buy ships to carryout our import and export” Ogbeifun quipped.
Earlier in her opening remark, the Chairman of The OMIS, Mrs Jean Chiazor Anishere . SAN, disclosed that the Maritime and offshore industries play a vital role in global trade and it is through the dedication and ingenuity of individuals and organizations represented at the gathering that boundaries are pushed in shaping the future.
Mrs Anishere who welcome all stakeholders present at the event states that it is the responsibility of all to ensure that the industry remains a beacon of progress, lifting communities and fostering opportunities for generations to come.
Anishere added that the event is not only to acknowledge excellence but to inspire a future where innovation, sustainability and safety are the fire burners of the future.
She however extend her heartfelt gratitude to all the nominees whose contributions have set new standards of excellence, sponsors, supporter and partners whose commitment to the event and industries is rated to be invaluable.
It could be recalled that the Chief Executive Officer of The OMIS, Mr. Femi Da-silva had earlier disclosed that the essence of the Maritime and Offshore Award – The OMIS is recognizing and celebrating people which is crucial for their upward development and empowerment, this involves expressing appreciation, praise, feedback, and incentives to reinforce their positive behavior, boost their morale, and increase their commitment.
Da-Silva added that the inclusion of a technical summit in this year’s edition of The OMIS aims to bring together prominent maritime experts, industry leaders and regulators, and other stakeholders to collaboratively address the pressing challenges confronting the nation’s maritime industry while formulating innovative solutions.
In his words “The technical summit is a pivotal addition to The OMIS Award this year, we believe that convening experts and stakeholders in the maritime industry will foster a collective approach towards tackling the challenges we face and drive the industry forward.
“We anticipate that the technical summit will not only shed light on the challenges but also pave the way for transformative solutions. The collective expertise of the participants will be instrumental in driving positive change,” Mr. Da-silva added.
The shortlisted award categories for The OMIS 2023 award are , CEO of the year award ( Corporate/Private), Lifetime achievers award, Engr. Ogbeifun Seafarer of the year 2023 award, QHSE Manager of the year award, Torch Bearer award and Icon of the year award.
Others are The OMIS Commendation award, Guardian Angel award, Industry Merit award, Posthumous award and The OMIS impact award.