Rep member seeks review of port operation laws
A member of the House of Representatives representing Apapa Federal Constituency, Mufutau Egberongbe, has called for an urgent review of all port operations legislations to address the anomalies in the system.
He said with vibrant legislative instruments either through the introduction of new laws or amendment of existing ones, most of the problems affecting ports management would be solved.
Egberongbe stated this in his paper titled ‘Achieving Effective Port Management with Vibrant Legislative Instruments’ delivered at the yearly lecture of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos.
He said despite rapid globalisation and modernisation, ports in Nigeria are not as efficient as they should be and are becoming barriers to international trade.
He said Nigerian ports are plagued with problems like clearance delay, inadequate investments, captivity issues, increased freight rates, lack of effective strategies and inappropriate international mandates.
Egberongbe listed factors affecting port operations to include overstretching of capacity, inconsistency of government policies on ports activities or services, poor maintenance culture, multiple security agencies and tide level, which leaves ships and vessels stranded for days and may lead to costly accidents.
“International trade cannot survive when there is a delay in ports system, congestion at ports, channels not navigatable, absence of cargo handling facilities, inadequate or obsolete equipment, poor security systems, zero safety standard or level, inefficient haulage services, inadequate container stack spaces, poor tariff system and inconsistent port policies, rules and regulations,” he noted.
The lawmaker hinted that it was based on this position that he sponsored a bill for the amendment of the Lagos Port Operations (Special Provisions) Act CapL3LFN2004.
He explained that the bill seeks to correct the anomalies in the Act of the Lagos Port Operation Committee for the effective discharge of port management duties but failed to make specific provisions.
The lawmaker, however, noted that the enactment of legislative instruments that mandate port management authorities to invest in technologies allow them to predict and accurately measure water levels, current speed and direction, air temperature and water salinity.
He said it will also ensure channels are navigable through the removal of wrecks and dredging of canals, decongestion of ports, reduce waiting time for vessels to berth to internationally-approved waiting time of 10 days as well as ensure the ports are safe and secured.