By Eromosele Abiodun
The recent synergy among the heads of Nigerian maritime agencies in their effort to eliminate friction and ensure ease of transactions will bring about the much-needed transformation in the sector if sustained, the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) has said.
Concerned that jurisdictional overlap had been hampering the smooth implementation of government policies, the heads of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) recently began a periodic meeting to harmonise operations.
“Already, major issues such as maritime security, multi-modal transportation and ports/cargo clearance issues, among others are receiving policy attention, and if implemented with due commitment, the hopes of making the nation’s ports the sub-regional hub would be realised soon,” SCAN noted in a statement by its president, Yusuf Babalola.
It also commended their roles in ensuring smooth port operations amid the Covid-19 pandemic after the federal government designated the seaports as essential service providers, which ensured the delivery of essential cargoes to importers and kept the economy steady, and the country running.
SCAN added: “While the NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, continued with efforts to at improving maritime security, the NSC Executive Secretary, Hassan Bello, tackled the challenges from shipping agencies and importers on one side, and terminal operators and clearing agents over clearance of cargoes on the other.
“Likewise, the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala-Usman, was frequently at the ports to ensure compliance with arrangements by the terminal operators, just as the Customs remained exceptionally vigilant and active during the period.”