Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr. Al-Mujtaba Abubakar and other stakeholders in the export business have called for the declaration of a state of emergency sub-sector to remove bottlenecks in the processing of non-oil exports in Nigeria.
They raised the alarm over serious constraints in the export business, describing the situation threating government’s efforts to increase non-oil revenue earnings.
Speaking separately at the unveiling of a study report on the operation of dry ports in Nigeria organised by the ACCI, the stakeholders cited multi-billion naira loss being experienced by exporters due to delay at the ports, multiplicity of agencies, poor infrastructure and bureaucratic challenges in the processing of approvals for export.
The study had listed several challenges militating against deployment of dry ports in the logistic chain, calling for urgent intervention to address critical weaknesses in the export chain business within the context of the African continental free trade zone (AfCFTA).
Opening the public private dialogue attended by agencies of the Ministry of Transportation, commodity associations, exporters and other stakeholders, the ACCI President said all hands must be on the deck to ease the burden of export if Nigeria was to expand her revenue earnings and meet the demands of new continental free trade regime.
Abubakar linked the achievement of huge export trade volume to strong hitherland logistics like ports and rail, adding that the dry ports report provides opportunities for all stakeholders to declare emergency in the export sub-sector because of the complicated nature of problems confronting exporters in Nigeria.
Economic development, he stressed, would be best escalated when multi-modal transportation model is the backbone of the economy, noting that this is true of developed economies and even truer of developing climes as Nigeria.
He noted: “This reality underpins the interest of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry to partner development organisations for the study and deployment of best practices and policies in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“As part of the ongoing processes, the Public Private Dialogue is a step further to intimate the relevant agencies of government and actors in the port space of the outcome of the assessment.
“Our goal is to sensitise the authorities to the critical importance of dry port as an expander and booster of hinterland economy. The gathering of several parties creates opportunities for considerations of best practices as Nigeria build up her networks of dry ports.”
The ACCI commended its partners, the German Development Agency (GIZ), the European Union and others for the facilitation of the assessment study, noting that the partners’ support in the transport and other sectors has tremendously assisted Nigeria to institute best practices in various sectors of her economy.
“We hope to proceed to partner further for the development of a National Policy on Day Port in Nigeria. This assessment report is an invaluable resource material for all stakeholders in the dry port sub-sector,” he added.
In her opening remarks, the Director General, ACCI Victoria Akai, said the Nigerian logistic sector is undergoing extensive expansion across transport, and logistic modes, observing that as Nigeria is expanding her railway ports, roads, airports and other infrastructure, dry port has emerged as a major focus along the logistic change.
She pointed out that creating the necessary policy framework is therefore a necessity, assuring that the ACCI with her partners is spearheading this move.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council Hon. Emmanuel Jime, at the event said they are not unaware of the operational challenges of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which could be attested to through the various initiatives aimed at solving these problems.