Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) on Thursday in Lagos said that the Kaduna Dry Port was yearning for patronage.
Mr Anthony Nwabunike, ANLCA President, disclosed this at a roundtable with Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) while discussing on the way forward for the maritime industry in the country.
According to him, the lack of patronage on the port can be attributed to stakeholders who are meant to make the port viable not doing enough.
“There are six dry ports in the country and the Kaduna port is efficient enough to make its impact in the economy, but unfortunately, they are not having patronage.
“Importers prefer to utilise neighbouring ports of other countries to discharge their goods and then bring into the country, and this is not good for the country,” he said.
Nwabunike said that dry ports were being run by private companies that did not have the capacity and standard to operate, thus the need for assistance.
He said that, to ensure effective running of the port, there should be a form of partnership with logistics companies, and a form of sensitisation for its patronage.
The ANLCA chief urged the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Shippers Council and the people of Kaduna who import, to make use of the Kaduna Port, as this would help decongest the Lagos Port.
“The Kaduna Dry Port is not about imports alone, but also export; this will lead to employment of youths and enhance trade, and so government should take advantage of this,” he said.
Nwabunike also urged the government to review the charges at the country’s ports, especially the Lagos Port to make them more user-friendly.
“The reason why some people lose their lives while taking delivery of goods through illegal route is because of the charges at the ports.
“The issue is also clear, government puts up these charges to discourage importation in the country but they need to do the needful for such to happen.
“They should encourage local manufacturing of cars, agricultural product and others so that the importation of these items will be minimised,” he said.
He said that all stakeholders should change their attitude and adopt good international standards, to ensure seamless movement of goods and services in the ports.
Nwabunike said that problems of cargo clearance could be linked to bad roads, multiplicity of agencies in the port, and congestion.
He also spoke on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), noting that it was meant to effect borderless trade across Africa.
Nwabunike, however, said that Nigeria still needed to position itself better to tap the full benefits of the agreement, which it had signed.
According to him, the country needs to do more around the issues of industrialisation, agriculture, individual capacity, logistics and others.
He also called on the government to consider for tax waivers for freight forwarders, as the increase in value added tax would impact them negatively by adding to the many charges they received at the ports.