The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has urged the comptroller general of Customs, Adewale Adeniyi, to collapse the export desk in various commands to strengthen the designated export command at Lilypond.
Mohammed Bello-Koko, the managing director, NPA, made the appeal when Adeniyi paid him a courtesy visit at the NPA headquarters on Thursday in Lagos.
Bello-Koko said the collapse of the export desk in different commands would reduce export bureaucracy, stressing that the facility in Lilypond should be put to proper use.
He added that NPA would work with customs to drive export as part of measures to support the federal government’s economic diversification efforts.
Bello-Koko also urged the CGC to look into the issue of 24 hours cargo operations, use of scanners and other challenges affecting efficiency in the port.
“Today’s meeting is to further collaborate on issues like decongestion of the port to bring efficiency and clear cargo as quickly as possible.
“We have discussed the issue of 24 hours cargo evacuation, on officers working on shifts to ensure cargoes are discharged and I appreciate the leadership in Tin Can and Apapa commands for ensuring trade facilitation.
“For us to achieve 24 hours cargo evacuation, it means that the shipping lines, terminal operators and security must be on their toes, we have worked out modalities,” he said.
On the issue of scanners, Bello-Koko stressed the need for terminal operators to ensure that existing scanners were in good shape.
“The CGC has been quite cooperative to ensure that trade facilitation is seamless and ensure that cost of doing business at the port has been reduced.
“He has worked with us to see that the export desk set up is actually functioning. We have seen a great increase, a spike in the quantity of cargo in terms of export and we will discuss the best way to collapse the export desk.
“This is to ensure one reporting line so as to ensure proper monitoring in carrying out responsibilities,” he said.
The NPA boss noted that just recently, they received a directive for the setting-up of a national committee for the deployment of National Single Window, adding that customs would play a key role there.
He also added that the NPA was working with the Lagos State Government to decongest the port and strengthen security for night discharge of cargoes.
“The Lagos State government is working towards ensuring illumination, once the whole place is lightened up, we reduce the people that will hang around in the night to create havoc.
“NPA will ensure that the port premises are illuminated, and discuss with the Nigerian Police, the marine police operating within the port for security as the federal government is serious about improving port efficiency,” he said.
Responding, Adeniyi said his visit to the NPA was to deepen the collaboration to ensure efficiency and competitiveness in the port.
He said both organisations work together to address anything that would negate the smooth operations at the port.
“On the efficiency of the port, we need to talk about how friendly they are, how good our processes are, the safety, the culture and integrity to get it right.
“In other climes, the port operates around the clock and we are happy with the progress we have made on 24-hour operations.
“We are also engaging with our colleagues on the other side of the border, the Benin Republic, to ensure that laws are respected, and it is about putting regulations which are flouted,” he said.
Adeniyi called for deployment of technology for competitive and efficient service delivery at the port
“If we deploy technology to examine goods rather than subjecting them to 100 per cent examination, that is one way to make them faster and more efficient.
“More importantly, we are working with all our partners, we are launching a time release study for us to actually determine the time and cost it takes to clear goods in our ports,” he said.
He noted that the aim was to identify the bottlenecks affecting operations at the port.