Monday, 2 October 2017

Anambra solution to CRFFN crisis

Regular readers of this column will certainly require little or no education about the controversy that has dogged the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) since inception. To remind, CRFFN was a creation of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. It was an integral part of Nigeria’s port reform programme which was anchored on dock labour reform, restructuring of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Customs reforms and freight forwarders reform.

Monday, 25 September 2017

From Turkey with guns

While Benin Republic and China are systematically undermining Nigeria economically, Turkey seems interested in the destruction of the precious lives of our citizens. Why the Nigerian government allows its tiny neighbour to willfully authorize the passage of banned items into its territory at the expense of its economy leaves much to the imagination. The government of Benin Republic is clearly behind the smuggling of goods, including life-threatening goods, into Nigeria. The Nigerian government, through some of its top officials including the Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu Ogbeh and the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, have spoken severally about the havoc wreaked by Benin Republic on the Nigerian economy and on the health of Nigerians. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

Why media war will not serve NPA’s best interest

Perhaps there are people behind the scene advising the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman to make certain utterances on the pages of newspapers and on television against perceived “enemies”. These advisers certainly do not mean well for the NPA boss because media war will not, by any stretch of imagination, benefit her or the organization she is privileged to serve as Managing Director.
The only beneficiaries of a media war are those paid to execute it, and I understand the need for such jobbers to want to keep the embers of conflict aglow in the public space.
Indeed, the type of uncomplimentary language one reads on the pages of newspapers with regards to NPA and the ports these days are rather strange. I do not remember seeing this level of mudslinging about the port in more than 20 years of practice in the maritime industry.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Audu Ogbeh and the illusion of yam export

A chanced meeting with a clearing agent on Creek Road, Apapa on Tuesday last week was a stark reminder of our leaders’ erroneous perception of reality. This particular agent had been vociferous in calling attention to the inactivity at Lilypond. Unfortunately, that terminal has become a victim of low cargo volume and since it is an offdock facility, it will remain dormant except the main port terminals have overflow.
So on Tuesday when I saw this agent whom I haven’t seen for a long time, it occurred to me that I should congratulate him on the revival of Lilypond terminal.
“Congrats, Lilypond is now an export terminal. I believe you’ll have plenty business to do now,” I said. My friend hissed. His answer did not leave me in doubt that the flag-off of yam for export at the terminal by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, was nothing but a sham. Perhaps the Minister did not know he was shamming? Perhaps he did not have the full picture?

Monday, 10 July 2017

Why progress eludes maritime sector

We’ve been here before. We’ve gone through this motion over and over again – it is motion without progress; activity devoid of productivity. The maritime industry has been running on the same spot without any pretence of progress in almost twenty years.
In 1999 when I joined the industry, the complaint by Customs at Seme Border was threefold – lack of office space, lack of accommodation for Customs officers and lack of space for truck examination. The Customs Area Comptroller at the time argued that his men would do wonders once the three key facilities were provided. Here we are almost two decades later, the issues remain – still no office space, no accommodation for Customs officers and no truck examination bay.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Tariff on imported vehicles: Osinbajo should fulfill APC's campaign promise

While addressing a town hall meeting of political stakeholders in Ondo State shortly before the 2015 general election, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, then Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), assured Nigerians that General Muhammadu Buhari's government – if voted into office – would slash tariffs on imported vehicles.

Osinbajo made the promise in the face of a 350% hike in the Customs duties payable by Nigerians on imported new and fairly used vehicles by the PDP government.
"We do not agree that there should be high tariffs on imported cars whether new or old ones because Nigeria is not producing cars for now.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The avoidable mess at our airports

The motor park mentality, which is a recipe for chaos, has found its way into our airports. It has always been there but current trends reveal it is assuming a worrisome proportion. 

Travellers will readily attest to irritating solicitations by all sorts of characters canvassing patronage or gifts at the airport’s screening point, passengers’ waiting area and in the toilet. These undue solicitations happen at even the very best of our airport terminals.