By Godfrey Bivbere
The proposed strike called by the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) which was expected to ground port activities by Wednesday was Monday averted by the Minister of Transport, Yususf Sulaiman, who flew into Lagos meetÂ with the leadership of the Association.
The Minister after the discussion with ANLCA leadership constituted a task force to look into all the issues raised by the association.
One of the issues raised by the Association was delay of containers at the ports for over 20 days at APM terminal before clearance. They explained that even though it is not the fault of the importer, they are made to bear the cost of the delay caused by the terminal operator and shipping agents.
The minister then directed that payments should not be made for services not rendered by the terminal operators.
The Minister stressed that the purpose of the port reform was to ensure speedy clearance of cargo within four days at theÂ Nigerian ports but noted that the present situation would not allow government desire for the nationâ€™s port to be achieved.
Earlier the President of ANCLA, Prince Olayewola ShittuÂ complained about the inhuman working condition faced by clearing agents at APMT commercial office at Point road Apapa.
Following the complain, the Minister visited the APMT office where he noticed the various complaints by the ANLCA President and subsequentlyÂ ordered the terminalâ€™s management to relocate to a more conducive office.
On the bad conditions of the access road leading to the ports, the Managing Director Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Mallam Abdul salam Mohammed assured that he would mobolise contractors to the site within the next six weeks, for the reconstruction of the access road to Kirikiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) and Tin-can Island Port for them to commence work soon while that of Lilypond will start in the next twoÂ months.
The leadership of the association commended the Minister for his quick response to the matter and promised to partner with him in ensuring that the smooth delivery process is not hindered.