WEEKEND GINGER: 2014 Performance: Customs leads, followed by NPA, NSC

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President Jonathan Goodluck

…As two Abdullahis contest for number 1 spot, in terms of strong performances in maritime industry

A critical appraisal of maritime industry performance by stakeholders may have seen two Abdullahis, gunning for first position.

Alh INDE DIKKO ABDULLAHI, COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF CUSTOMS
Alh INDE DIKKO ABDULLAHI, COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF CUSTOMS

Stakeholders’ critical appraisal of maritime industry performance, may have witnessed two Abdullahis, one heading the Nigerian Ports Authority and the other, heading the Nigeria Customs Service, contesting for first position!

NPA Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi
NPA Managing Director, Mallam Habib Abdullahi

Our respondents, who all spoke on the conditions of anonymity, consisting of port users, shipping operators and agents, importers and journalists, specifically taking into considerations, the resourcefulness and performances of Government parastatals, however gave the prime position to the Abdullahi that heads the Customs; declared the Abdullahi that heads the NPA as second; and unto Barrister Hassan Bello, they crowned third!

Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council
Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council

In their fair assessments, they noted that while the NPA initiated: *e-payment *E- Ship Entry Notice and *Consolidated good administration to come second; the Nigeria Customs Service on the other hand, introduced: *Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) which grossed in over N1 trillion for Government * Consolidated on E-payment; * Solidified the Nigeria Single Window Portal for foreign trade * Reinforced the Nigeria Trade Hub; a hub for trade information * Consolidated on good administration

LCM BOSS, Danny Fuchs
LCM BOSS, Danny Fuchs

The Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) was adjudged third, not because it was established on 4th July, 1978 via Decree 13 of the Federal Government of Nigeria to enhance shippers interest, but rather because it:

  • Developed a platform, that could challenge the formidable and highly coordinated Sea Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) in what it perceived as avoidable extortion, despites young age as a Port Regulator; and also defeated the mighty body in court!

In their assessment, the body though lauded the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) for its determination to throw a life jacket at one in sight, in a bid to reduce frightening statistics of deaths by drowning in Nigerian in land waters, they failed to make the fourth position, because of the same statistics issued by NIWA, that the country lost not fewer than 300 lives to drowning in 24 months!

Hajiya Inna Ciroma, MD, NIWA
Hajiya Inna Ciroma, MD, NIWA

The NIWA was particularly guilty of:

  • Dredging the inland waterways and thereafter abandoning the channel to oil thieves and kidnappers. No policing or poor policing?!
  • Refusal to develop operational cells for commercial ferry operators, nation-wide, or any determined commitment to monitor them.
  • Over-looking the dangers of over-loading, while over-emphasizing life-jackets. If the aviation sector should emulate NIWA, nobody in Nigeria would be allowed to board the airplane from Lagos to Abuja, until he was first strapped in parachutes!
NIMASA DG, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi
NIMASA DG, Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi

How we loved the apex Nigerian maritime agency?! Unfortunately, the first as feared; actually came last! The stakeholders while the committed effort and dogged determination of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to silenced piracy, a tertiary function of its statutory mandate, also noted that:

  • That NIMASA, despite the billions of Naira it had expended on fighting piracy, was yet to convict any oil thieves; thereby making the billions appear as scarce resources so far thrown down the drain. So, no deterrent factor has been served, to potential criminals!
  • That the Maritime University it established at Okerenkoko had not taken off, despite its celebrated pledge that its first academic session would begin in 2014.
  • That the agency till date, was yet to adopt measures that would make Okerenkoko, a fairly accessible place, thereby indirectly hampering the attraction of optimal benefits, from the establishment of such a strategically important University at Okerenkoko.
  • The stakeholders also noted that the agency was yet to entrench measures that would guarantee reasonably home employments to the Master Mariners and nautical engineers the agency is presently “baking” outside the country, particularly from India and United Kingdom.

They however lauded the visionary gestures of the NIMASA Director General particularly in pursuit of International Ships and Ports Facility Security (ISPS) Code and the piracy warfare, stressing that the agency was bound to create indelible footprints in 2015, if the present vision and commitment was sustained! In the areas of dredging, the industry watchers rated the Lagos Channel Management (LCM) first, noting that while the Calabar channel could only accommodate relatively small or partially off-loaded vessels; and only one West African Maximum (WAFMAX) had been able to visit the Port Harcourt channel; the Lagos channel has since become a natural domain of fully loaded WAFMAX vessels, with several of them sailing in over 4,000 TEU containers at a time, aboard their 249 metre-long technological wonder! As we expressed our sincere appreciations to the stakeholders for their ‘fair and true’ view appraisal, we also wish to thank you, all our readers out there, for being with us. Your criticisms have made us stronger; your commendations, especially from our readers in London and the United States of America, have sincerely, made us bolder! Readers’ reactions are welcomed. Thank you for the year! Happy Christmas; and Happier New Year please!

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