SNFFIEC Organises Seminar On Ministerial Visit

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A pressure group at the ports, the Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers Exporters Coalition (SNFFIEC) is organising a one day workshop at Etal Hotel and Halls, Apapa, Lagos, at 10am on Thursday, to x-ray the impact of the recent ministerial facility tour of the ports and the eventual sack of eight government agencies from there.

National Coordinator of the Group, Sir Osita Chukwu, said the meeting was necessary for stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with the way forward for the maritime industry.

According to him, the industry has been depressed and oppressed for a long time by some group of people who have been lining their pockets at the expense of the nation and these individuals have opposed directly or indirectly any move to liberate the industry from their grip.

He said the visit of the Minister of Finance, Transport, the presidential Task Force on port reforms, and the Economic Team took these people by surprise.

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He explained that the visit has established a direction for the industry, adding that Maritime stakeholders should accept the challenge by helping the government chart the way forward by coming together to talk. “We are providing the platform. All the people that matter in the industry are coming. We have a lot to do to protect the ports. It is the gateway to the economy and we cannot afford to sit idle while some miscreants destroy our economy because of greed.

“We have as guest of honours for the breakfast meeting, “the Minister of Finance and Transport, the heads of immigration, police, customs, Nimasa, NPA and NDLEA, among others. He said that powerful speakers have been lined up to speak at the event. The Federal Government recently withdrew eight agencies from the ports in bid to streamline the hurdles in clearing processes. The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated this during the facility tour of Apapa Ports.

She said multiple agencies were responsible for the delay encountered during and before clearing of goods. Okonjo-Iweala also ordered the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Inde Dikko, to disband the CG Taskforce, noting that it had not helped in speedy clearing of goods. She said: “We want to reduce the time of clearing goods from weeks to hours. We want to reduce the cost of clearing and also achieve a fast or turn round time.”The minister also abolished the Cargo Tracking Note, saying that it also constitutes delay in cargo clearance. She noted that a monitoring and valuation committee on port activities had been instituted to monitor the operations and activities in all the ports.

The agencies, authorised to be seen in the ports henceforth include; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Custom Service, Immigrations, Police and Port health.

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