The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Saraki has described Nigerian ports as the most expensive in the West African sub- region occasioned by duplicity of functions by operators in the ports.
Sen. Saraki said this yesterday when she received the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) in Abuja, who paid her a courtesy call.
She said that the high cost of port operations has made it difficult for Nigeria to compete with other neighbouring countries.
“Nigeria is supposed to be the biggest player and the cheapest player, but unfortunately, we are not. But, I assure you that changes will be witnessed as we will soon be efficient and effective, “she said.
On the issue of Nigeria becoming a dumping ground for empty containers which also contribute to the gridlock in Apapa, she said: “The problem is not a hidden one, everyone knows that and I assure you that we will soon unveil plans which will surely bring about positive change.”
Furthermore, the minister lauded the organization for their commitment in bringing about change in port operations and urged the body to engage in collaborative efforts as that is the only way the ministry can know whether the government’s policies are working or not.
Earlier, National President of ANLCA, Iju Nwabunike, said their visit became necessary to keep the minster informed about the happenings in the area she superintends so as to guide her in decision-making in the discharge of her duties.
Nwabunike further commended the ministry for the revival and growth of the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria, stating that his association is in support of the collection of practitioners’ operating fees as it will bring about improvement in the transport chain and the training of members as professionals.
Enumerating their challenges, the national president pleaded with the minister to ensure the urgent repair of port access roads and also ensure automation of transactions at port terminals to minimize human contact, facilitate trade and guarantee ease of doing business.