Customs’ boss tasks Fed government on dredging of seaports
• Urges Nigerians to bear short-term pains for long-term success over border closure
The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), has tasked the Federal Government on the need to dredge the nation’s seaports, stressing that one of the major problems facing the maritime sector is because the seas are not deep.He said that dredging of the seaports should be a vital investment that government needs to make to enable the ports become viable and boost maritime revenue generations.
The Customs boss stated this yesterday during an inspection tour of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Area 1 Command, Port Harcourt and Area II Command, Onne, Rivers State.He said: “The problem with some of our ports is that we don’t have a deep sea. Most of the big ships when they come in, they discharge on the high sea because our seas are not deep and we have to use barges to go and evacuate the containers.
“This is an issue government needs to tackle. We have five ports in this country and it is a big challenge that none of them is deep. So, the government needs to dredge the sea to make it accessible for big ships and make it viable.
“Dredging the Calabar, Warri, Cross River and Lagos ports is an investment, which government needs to make to boost the maritime revenue.”Speaking on the border closure, Ali further urged Nigerians to endure the short-term pains in order to enjoy the long-term success of the border closure.
He insisted that there is no better time to close the border and grow the nation’s economy and local industries than now, saying that when the Russian government closed its borders, the environment was not ripe for business but the citizens endured the pain, which has brought glory to them today.“The decision of closing the border is ripe; we don’t need to have 100 per cent electricity and good roads before we take the step. Most importantly is that we must be able to bear the initial pains in order to stabilise and have a long-term success.
“We don’t have to eat rice everyday, there are other alternative food. I assure you that the rice price will stabilise and the ordinary farmers will have value for their farming business”
“Let me reiterate our concern and determination to do all it takes to protect the well-being and safety of all citizens and residents by preventing the devastating effect of the hazardous importation and smuggled items. They engender our lives as Nigerians. Hence, they will not be allowed to find their ways into the market.”
The comptroller-general, who vowed that the Customs would continue to maintain zero-tolerance to smuggling activities irrespective of who is involved and under whatever circumstances, further said: “Let me assure you that a thorough investigation will be conducted with a view to bringing all connected to justice. We shall continue to apply stringent sanctions on any act capable of compromising our efforts towards achieving better efficiency in the discharge of our mandate.”
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