By Godwin Oritse
As the challenges of services deficiency lingers in the Nigeria’s port industry, it has now been revealed that government and shipping businesses lose about $7.0 billion (N3.1 trillion) annually to inefficiency, corruption and bottlenecks associated with cargo clearing.
Also non-oil exports valued at $10 billion (N4.36 trillion) is lost to the crises while N600 billion is lost in Customs revenue.
While acknowledging some modest success in addressing the challenges, the 2021 annual report released yesterday by the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, MACN, a global sea trade and shipping group, in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, LCCI, which gave this figures, said that illegal charges, rent seeking and corrupt port officials and circumstances of excessive delay to import and export processes were some of the administrative bottlenecks responsible for such huge losses.
The report stated: “Despite the successes, challenges of ports administration remain. Users and operators at the ports continue to face lingering challenges that includes infrastructure gaps, regulatory inconsistencies, the duplication of roles by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), high rate of infraction by MDAs, cumbersome cargo clearing processes, absence of indigenous ship ownership, foreign exchange scarcity, multiple taxation and poor state of the roads to the ports.
“These challenges particularly in cargo clearance processes and nodal transportation, have created circumstances of excessive delays to import/export processes, red tape, rent seeking and corrupt demands, human and vehicular in and around the ports, and illegal charges leading to high cost of business operations.
“Estimates indicate that the economic cost of these inefficiencies to the Nigerian government and private sector is as high as $7billion annually.
“Broken down, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), further calculates that these annual losses to amount to N600billion in Customs revenue, $10billion in non-exports, and some N2.5trillion in Corporate revenues, including a drop of 38-40 percent in industrial capacity utilization”.
Speaking at Retooling the Maritime Sector for Economic Growth’ conference, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Emmanuel Jime, said that the Nigerian Port has been classified as the worst in the world due to traffic congestion, safety and security concerns and logistics shortcoming that have plagued the ports.
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer of the Convention of Business Integrity, Mr. Soji Apampa, the convener of the Port Users Conference, said the that the focus of the MACN Nigeria project is to use the collective action to strengthen good governance, reduce corruption and improve the investment climate in the Maritime sector.
Apampa said: “We achieve this by working with the industry to strengthen compliance with government regulation, stakeholder activism and public vigilance.”