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High port charges killing industries, say manufacturers

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Frank Jacobs

Local manufacturers and other industry operators in the country have cried out over high cost of clearing cargoes at Nigerian seaports, describing it as a cankerworm that has forced so many companies into extinction.

The stakeholders, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACIMMA), Association Of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANCLA) and National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), among others who gathered at a maritime industry summit in Lagos yesterday, bemoaned the effect of high port charges on the survival of their businesses.

President, MAN, Frank Udemba Jacobs, said port charges are major source of worry for the manufacturers and it has contributed to high cost of production. Jacobs therefore called for reasonable ports charges.

Jacobs, who was represented by Niran Olajobi, bemoaned the deplorable of ports access roads and the gridlock, which has contributed to the charges, urging government to immediately fix the roads.

President, NACIMMA, Mrs Alaba Lawson, commended the Federal Government on the initiatives of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) for its action plan aimed at creating enabling environment and easy movement of goods across borders, calling for full implementation of the action plan.

Speaking on the theme: “Port Charges: How Plausible?” she said: “Delay in clearance of cargoes at Nigerian ports still persist despite PEBEC’s intervention which is a far cry from what is practicable in other African ports such as Ghana and Benin republic. The ports have a low level automation, data base and integrated process system. We urge government to put in place more effectively strategies to improve the overall efficiency at the ports and reduce the cost of doing business at ports to make Nigerian ports a hub for international freights and trade,”

Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman, said assured that the Authority is working hard to create a level playing ground for all operators, urging stakeholders that all hands must be on deck to improve port efficiency and competitiveness.

Bala Usman, who was represented by the Manager Audit, Sarah Oghomienor, said: “We have been working hard to ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness at the ports. It is not only the port charges that is so depressive, it is the entire system, the infrastructure, the roads, the insurance, among others are culminating to the higher cost. I think the onus lies on all of us. Its our responsibility, we should go to any length to ensure that we all benefit from the industry. We at NPA are working relentlessly to ensure that it is a win-win situation for all stakeholders,”


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