Lagos, Sept. 7, 2023: The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, says government plans to engage the management of the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS) to resolve issues of about 6,000 abandoned cargoes at the port.
Oyetola said this at his maiden visit at the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in Lagos on Wednesday.
According to Oyetola, these cargoes occupy space and the country is loosing revenue in that regard.
“On abandoned cargoes, I went on a tour in Apapa Port and they took us to where they have overtime cargoes and these cargoes have been there since 2011.
“So, I now want to believe that it is likely to happen in other ports. This is, particularly, because Tincan and Apapa ports have about 6,000 abandoned cargoes.
“There must be a time frame by which a cargo can stay, otherwise declared abandoned. To have kept a cargo since 2011, it’s unrealistic and unacceptable.
“Again, I think people have not seen much need for clearing of cargoes if it has accumulated demurrage for one reason or the other. It is because it’s uneconomical for him or her to clear.
“The person will abandon it there but as a port regulator, you may encourage early clearance of such cargo,” he said.
The minister added that the Nigeria Customs should be encouraged to use scanners more than the physical examination that takes long to be completed.
He advised stakeholders at the ports to desist from corruption, saying, President Bola Tinubu administration has zero tolerance for such.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary, NSC, highlighted issues requiring attention to include the amendment of NSC Act to institute effective port economic regulation.
Other are actualisation of one per cent freight stabilisation fee on import and export to the council, as enshrined in the NSC Subsidiary Legislation.
It also involves the mplementation of the International Cargo Tracking Note (ICTN), establishment of a national fleet and others,” he said.
The NSC boss also expressed delight that the minister had already shown immense commitment to transform the economic fortunes of the nation via the maritime sector.
“The ministry of marine and blue economy is very strategic. It was not created out of any whimp. This ministry was created because of its recognition by Mr president.
“It has on very strategic importance of the marine and blue economy, to the starting and further creating movement of fundamental principles to the Nigerian economy.
“This agency of yours that you supervise is the laboratory where policy making is, and the industry that drives the marine space will be actually cultivated.
“I have seen your body language and immediately you assumed office, there is this passion that you have displayed to make certain that as you supervise this very strategic nerve centre of the nations economy, there would be no vacuum,” he said.
Jime noted that he was convinced that the minister had come with a determination to change the narrative of the industry.
Accordingly to him, Oyetola will make sure he meets people’s expectations.
“This one agency in this industry will keep you in the route in helping in achieving that objectives of yours which is to turnaround the fortunes of the maritime domain.
“The objective of everyone in this room, I can assure you is to make certain that in less than no time, Nigeria becomes a maritime hub in the East and west of Africa and I believe that is what you want,” he said.