30th September, 2011
The Federal Government may have concluded plans to prune the number of security agencies at the nationâ€™s seaports from over a dozen to four.
Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, last week dropped hint of the Federal Government’s to rationalise the number of security agencies at the ports.
Okonjo-Iweala spoke in Washington DC, United States of America (USA), at the meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, IMF. The minister said the Finance Ministry would tackle corruption at the ports by cutting the number of agencies from 14 to four.
The decision of the government to trim the number of agencies at the seaports may not be unconnected with the series of complaints and petitions by stakeholders, notably importers and freight forwarders, to the Presidency over the disruptive role of the multiple agencies at the ports in the cargo clearance process. These stakeholders have persistently complained that the large number of these agencies are contributing to the high cost of doing business at the ports, and delays experienced in cargo clearance, which, they say, is hindering the 48-hour cargo clearance target by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). Presently, there are about 14 government agencies at the port which are the NCS, Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), State Security Service (SSS), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), among others.