Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Tag: Export

Onitsha port on the spot again

Stakeholders in the private sector want the immediate implementation of plan to  oncession Onitsha River port, a facility that was renovated six years ago and ready for use. 
 
The Nigeria’s organized private sector doing business in Eastern Nigeria explained that the appeal was an “SOS’’ on the port on iconic River Niger Bridge.
 
The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was at the verge of concluding the concession before he was ousted in 2015.
 
The process to concession the port had been put on hold while traders and manufacturers in South East continue to suffer the pains of using Lagos ports for import and export business.
 
The leadership of the Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OCCIMA)  had persistently reminded Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of the need to concession the port.
 
Action needs to be taken before the multibillion naira facility dilapidates.
 
The very last refurbishment of the port was done at the cost of over N5bn by Jonathan administration, but minor logistics marred the concessioning by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).
 
Already, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advised the Federal Government to extend the port reform plans of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council to eastern ports and work towards the completion of Onitsha port activation.
 
The chamber during the unveiling of a report titled ‘Maritime Ports Reform in Nigeria: Feedback from the Organised Private Sector’in Lagos, specifically urged the government to
finalise the concession of Onitsha seaport.
 
According to the LCCI President, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, the members the Organised Private Sector in South East have been suffering untold hardship in either importing wares or exporting their products due to the dormant state of the national asset.
 
Additionally, Ruwase advised the government to improve the security situation along and within the Warri Port in order to ward off militants and touts.
 
He noted that stakeholders’ have requested that the government should approve and publicise a bouquet of incentives to importers and exporters that patronise ports outside
Lagos, adding that the measures would make ports outside Lagos attractive to importers and exporters and reduce the current pressure on the Lagos port and roads.

Eastern Ports can rescue Lagos

By Izuchukwu Ozoemena
It stands to reasonably argue that with the impression being created for now, the Federal
Government is already bereft of ideas on how to resolve the logistics conundrum plaguing the Lagos ports for years. It will also not be out of place to posit that the challenges which have made the eastern ports unworkable have become so huge and intimidating that the authorities in Abuja can neither confront nor overcome them. The Federal Government would rather offer excuses and blame previous administrations instead of confronting the issues headlong and overcoming them. But is that the way to go? For how long will Nigerians be served with this defeatist position? If the Federal Government has become so overwhelmed by the challenges, is it the common man or foreigners that will now
fashion out the way to go?
 
Experts and those who know it all know
that the federal government is simply trying to dodge a constitutional
responsibility it owes to the easterners and the generality of Nigerians
who are already feeling a sense of neglect.
This position, for sure, may sound too pessimistic and can easily be
dismissed with a wave of the hand by those who think the assessment is
too harsh. Even though this assumption sounds unrealistic when it is
considered that the federal authorities have all
it takes to initiate actions and follow them conclusively to reverse
the situation to the delight of port users in Lagos, it is now left for
the federal government to prove pessimists wrong by doing the needful in
the shortest possible time even as governance
has now painfully yielded way to politicking.
 
For sure, if the operational condition of
the eastern ports is improved upon and importers are attracted to the
area, Lagos ports will become the greatest beneficiary in terms of
efficiency and ease of doing business. In this
wise, recent suggestions on the role of functional eastern ports must
come in handy.
 
While unveiling a report entitled
‘Maritime Ports Reform In Nigeria: Feedback From The Organized Private
Sector’, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Industry, LCCI, recently advised
the Federal Government to extend the port reform
plans of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council to the
eastern ports. According to Mr Babatunde Ruwase, the LCCI president, a
survey carried out by the OPS and the Center for International Private
Enterprise was inspired by the need to call
the attention of stakeholders and government to the lingering
challenges at the eastern ports with a view to finding solutions to
them. The report which he stated is an update on the 2016 report
entitled ‘Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports’, x-rays the
present realities in the ports, outlines the cost of frequent
operational crisis and highlights gaps in the implementation of policy
measures for the attention and action of the Presidential Enabling
Business Environment Council and other relevant interventionist
initiatives. As a practical step to attract activities to the eastern
ports, Ruwase advised the federal government to improve the security
situation along and within the Warri and Port Harcourt Ports so as to
ward off miscreants and touts who terrorize the
area. Stakeholders, he stated, insist that the government must approve
and make public a package of incentives to importers and exporters who
patronize ports outside Lagos as a special encouragement to remain in
such areas. Such an arrangement will make doing
business in such ports attractive for importers and exporters, thereby
reducing the current pressure on Lagos ports and the over-used roads.
 
But going forward, does LCCI’s call
suggest that before now, implementation of this vital economic blueprint
has been essentially limited to only one side of the country? If the
intended benefits are designed to reach out to all,
why must the implementation be denied ports in the eastern flank?
 
Much as the federal government is quick
to present reasons the eastern ports have remained unattractive for
business, can it convince stakeholders that the challenges are beyond
her ability to overcome?
 
Even talking about Lagos ports, the
‘favoured baby,’ the LCCI is concerned that despite all interventions
aimed at improving the business environment in them, the ports still
trail behind her peers in Africa and beyond especially
in the area of operational efficiency. In the last two years, for
instance, traffic gridlock has led to a 500 percent increase in the cost
of transportation of cargo in and out of the ports in Apapa and Tincan
Island. Other minuses include longer cargo dwell
time, disruption of production schedules of manufacturers who cannot
move raw materials to factories as planned and the costs and risks of
companies holding unreasonable level of inventories in a bid to guard
against running out of raw materials following
problems of unreliable supply arrangement. There is also the risk of
increasing interest cost on funds borrowed to import raw materials for
production purposes. It is on record that dilapidated ports access roads
account for 90 percent of accidents that usually
cause damage to fragile imported items, a situation that leads to
avoidable losses.
 
“In addition”, Ruwase stated, “there are
painful reports of loss/damage of perishable agricultural exports due to
the extended time spent by trucks before getting to the ports or even
the poor condition of warehouses at the ports.
For instance, in 2017, about 25 percent of cashew nuts being exported
from Lagos to Vietnam went bad or were downgraded due to these factors.”
He noted that increasing pirate attacks and kidnapping of vessels
in Nigerian territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea had led to
increasing shipping costs which are usually transferred to the ultimate
consumers of products involved. What about increase
in insurance premium on the goods and services in transit? The LCCI
chief also expressed concern over safety and cost implication of wrecked
ships and abandoned crafts that litter the Nigerian waters as well as
shallow channels working against the entry of
big vessels into the harbour.
 
In other climes, there are port reform
initiatives that have yielded positive outcomes in short, medium and
long term. Can Nigeria copy such measures to improve efficiency in the
eastern ports while easing out the problems in
Lagos ports?
 
Since it now appears every other thing is
failing, the Federal Government must look in this direction in line
with recommendations the LCCI is offering. Failure to do this amounts to
failure to take into consideration the need
to satisfy the genuine interests of Nigerians.

 

EU denies ban on Nigeria’s palm oil

The European Union (EU) has denied the proposed ban on palm oil importation from Nigeria to the union.
 
Mr Kurt Cornelis, the Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said in Abuja that the EU had no plan to ban
palm oil importation.
 
Cornelis made the clarification during a sensitisation workshop organised by the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) on the proposed ban of palm oil importation to the EU.
 
“It is not true that the EU was planning to ban palm oil importation to the union from Nigeria.
 
“We are not considering any ban on oil importation from the third world countries, we think there is some confusion somewhere,’’ he said.
 
Cornelis said that in June 30, the EU Parliament and Council reached an agreement on bio-fuel for renewable energy.
 
According to him, the renewable energy directive do not propose ban on oil.
 
He said that the EU would focus on investment and partnership with banks in its next programme that would last for 10 years.
 
However, Ms Yewande Sadiku, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), said that the commission had received a letter from the Foreign Affairs Ministry that the EU proposed to ban the importation of palm oil to the union.
 
Sadiku, represented by Hajiya Ladi Katagum, the Director in the commission said that the workshop was orgainsed to address the issue.
 
She said that the objective of the commission was to encourage, promote and coordinate investment in the Nigerian Economy.
 
According to her, the commission is expected to monitor all investment promotion activities, initiate and support measures which shall enhance the investment climate in Nigeria.
 
The National President, Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria, Mr Hilary Uche said that the major problem in the country was lack of capacity building for small scale farmers.
 
Uche called on the Federal Government to encourage development in the sector as it could create the highest job opportunity in the country.
 
He said that government needed to be involved in order to ensure standards in the production of palm oil.
 
There was no representative from the foreign affairs office to clarify the source of the letter.

Study shows Nigeria loses $3b annually in ports inefficiency

The inefficiency in Nigeria’s ports is causing the country $3 billion annually in loses.
 
The annual loss is unveiled by a study
entitled Nigeria: Reforming the Maritime Ports which was jointly
conducted by the Financial Derivatives Company and the Lagos Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in 2016.
 
The study reveals that operational
indices that ought to have engendered positive changes are rather
declining progressively by the day owing to a number of factors.
 
As at 2018, experts say it is not yet Uhuru as there is no noticeable improvement in this figure.
 
Of the people interviewed for the report
in 2016, 57 per cent were largely corporate users of the ports with 11
per cent coming from the federal government ministries, departments and
agencies (MDAs).
 
Others were 10 per cent from the
logistics sector; six per cent importers and freight forwarders; four
per cent terminal operators; and the remaining 12 per cent simply lumped
into a category referred to as ‘others’.
 
All the respondents revealed that in
carrying out their businesses in the ports, they had experienced, among
other inconveniences, man-made delays, poor transportation, and
infrastructure and ICT shortcomings.
 
The report stated that Nigeria’s ports
have seen 3.3 per cent compounded annual growth rate in gross tonnage of
144.2 million within the past five years, and an annual growth of 1.8
per cent is expected until 2021.
 
It added that notwithstanding this
progress, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) report indicates that in terms of port and maritime activities,
Nigeria trails far behind many smaller economies in Africa.
 
Indeed, according to the report, Nigeria
ranks fourth in Africa in terms of TEU volumes. Morocco ranks third,
South Africa second and Egypt first.
 
The report concluded that there was need
for reforms such as enhancing information exchange on a single window
platform to reduce the presence of multiple ministries, departments and
agencies of the government at the ports and
to limit the spate of human interface in conducting businesses.
 
Incidentally, the same thoughts and
concerns echoed in Lagos recently at a one-day national workshop
organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on the
theme: Capacity Building in the Transportation Industry
– The Railway, Maritime and Aviation Sectors.
 
The well-attended workshop was graced by many dignitaries including Mrs. J.O. Maduka, 
chairperson, Science, Energy and Technical Committee of the LCCI in addition to Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, LCCI’s president.
 
Lagos’ Transportation Commissioner, Mr. Ladi Lawanson, was also in attendance.
 
On factors militating against building
capacity in all facets of the transportation sector, participants were
unanimous that the absence of a maintenance culture, lack of continuity
and the inability to implement the programmes
agreed upon during conferences.
 
 “Implementation of ideas
to move forward in all gamut of the transportation sector is still zero.
And the authorities who are statutorily empowered to take action must
start to have rethink
and do the needful.
 
“Government policies, often times, prevent any form of progress, it was also noted.’’
 
With emphasis on the present state of
Apapa roads which have defied all solutions, they emphasised the need to
embark on an aggressive development of the rail system from the ports
outbound.
 
They recommended the use of the rail
system to move cargo in and out of the ports is key, if government’s
ease-of-doing-business initiative is to become meaningful.
 
They recommended that the operation of
the railway system must be private sector-driven to achieve efficiency.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) must procure more rolling stocks
to improve her operations in line with the
exigencies of the moment.
 
As Mr. Zang James, NRC’s Director of
Corporate Planning, who represented the Managing Director, stated that
failure to sustain the tempo of development in this aspect of
transportation is the bane of the industry in Nigeria.
 
He recalled that during the Abacha
regime, efforts made to revive the railways were scuttled by the same
government that ought to have championed them.
 

For instance, bringing the rolling stocks
was discontinued. Government did not realize the need to embark on this
as her attention was somewhere else. 

Eritrea mulls new port to harness potash project

 Eritrea
is considering a new port on its coast line at the Bay of Anfile,
located some 75 kilometres east of a Colluli potash project being
operated by Dankali
Limited of Australia.
The port is aimed at helping export of potash from mines being developed in the country and from neighbouring Ethiopia.
Mr. Alem Kibreab, a government official, said that a feasibility study was underway to pick a site for the proposed port.
The
project wasm conceived five years after the mine started operating
there because according to plans, “To begin (construction), the company
has to make money0”.
Dankali
Ltd on August 22 announced that its Social and Environmental Management
Plans (SEMPs) for the Colluli Potash Project in Eritrea had been agreed
on and
finalised after a review process.
The Executive Chairman, Mr.
 Seamus Cornelius, said: “We are committed to having a significantly positive impact in Eritrea.
“Colluli
stands to provide significant social and economic benefits, creating
hundreds of permanent jobs for Eritrean nationals and catering for
community interests.”
The
project is 100 per cent owned by Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC), a
50:50 joint venture between Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining
Corporation
(ENAMCO).
Colluli
contains deposits of high-grade fertilizers suitable for use on fruit
and coffee trees and vegetables, according to Danakali’s website.
It
is situated in the Danakil Depression, a geological area that stretches
into Ethiopia and is regarded as an “emerging potash province,” the
company said.
The Dankali executive chairman said that the current truce between Eritrea and Ethiopia boosted the work in the area.
“Those
discussions have accelerated following the Ethio-Eritrea peace deal, he
said. “With the rapid changes and the rapid improvement in the
geopolitical situation,
things we weren’t thinking were possible in the past are now possible.”
Ethiopian
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki in July
signed a peace agreement that saw the two neighbours bring an end to
decades
of hostilities and the restoration of friendly ties between them.
Till
the proposed port is completed, exports will have to depend on the
existing Massawa Port located some 230 kilometres from the mines.
On
their part, Ethiopian exports if they opt to use Eritrea will have a
shorter journey to Massawa or to Anfile Bay, much shorter that the over
790 kilometres
journey to use the Tadjoura Port in Djibouti.