Group wants FG to block revenue leakages in sea ports
A group, Nigerians Against Theft in the Maritime Sector (NATIMS), has called on the Federal Government to re-examine operations at the nation’s sea ports to block revenue leakages in the maritime sector.
In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, the Chairman of the group, Dr. Jonas Bankole, said the call was necessary because of inappropriate berthing or direct reception of ocean going ships/vessels at some terminals.
He said these actions translated into huge revenue loss to the Federal Government.
He cited a ship with 470 twenty-foot equivalent of containers that allegedly sneaked into Nigerdock facility at Snake Island Integrated Free Zone, Apapa in Lagos since Jan. 19.
Bankole said the same scenario played out on Dec. 16, 2015 when another ship from Durban in South Africa berthed at Ladol facility.
“ We do not know how many ships had berthed illegally in the past and how much revenue government has lost.’’
According to him, the ship has been seized by the customs because its rule says “that on no circumstance should any ship/vessel coming in from foreign, berth at any other place other than the conventional ports’’.
He said the ship might not have observed the rule as it headed straight to private jetty and wondered how this could happen without the knowledge of the authorities.
Bankole said the group would petition the Senate and House of Representatives committees on Maritime Transport on how such activities had negatively impacted on the revenue base of the nation.
“We hear that the Senate Committee on Maritime Transport is currently conducting inspection tours of agencies and establishment under its jurisdiction.
“We hope they will address the issue of illegal berthing of ships/vessels as well as the danger of having government agencies that are no longer alive to their responsibilities in terms of revenue generation.’’
However NATIMS commended the NCS for “reading the riot act to its officers and men’’ concerning illegal berthing of ships/vessels and mid-stream discharge of cargo.