Monday, 28 September 2015

This uncertainty is too weighty

By Bolaji Akinola
A friend called on Thursday to lament bitterly about her container, which the shipper refused to load in China for shipment to Nigeria.
“Did you have contraband items in the container,” I asked since I really could not fathom the reason for the shipper’s action.
“No. Absolutely not,” she replied.
This friend went ahead to tell me the content of her container and of course they’re legitimate items.
So why was the shippers reluctant shipping it? My friend explained that the shipper was warned from Nigeria that there is a new Customs Comptroller-General whose policy direction was hazy and since no one knew what he was up to and no one was willing to stick out their neck, it was advised that he played safe. ‘Siddon look’, ‘wait-and-see’ until everyone is sure what the new Customs boss is up to.
And this is the attitude of business. Once there is uncertainty in the socio-political environment, everyone withdraw into their shell. The implication is that the economy will be at a standstill. Jobs will be at risk and recession begins to loom in the horizon. The contraction witnessed in the economy in the past two quarters is a clear indication of this with the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Committee warning that the country could slide into recession by early next year.
The uncertainty predates this government but one would have thought that it would propel the regime into immediate action.
Retired Col. Hameed Ali certainly has some plan up his sleeves but he’s been quite about it. His mute stance makes it difficult for his field officers especially the Customs Area Controllers who interface directly with the business community. They in turn begin to take steps very carefully like the next Pope to be. They stifle business in the process. I suppose that’s the mêlée in which my friend’s container is trapped.
The scenario is not any different at the centre as President Buhari’s economic policies remain hazy.
No one will make serious monetary commitment into this economy for now, hence traders are not importing. They are not importing because of the fear of being caught unawares. For instance, what is government’s stance on the auto policy, rice policy, fish quota policy etc?
The worsening fate of the naira is not helping matters either. Volume of general cargo importation has already dropped by as much as 30%. Jonathan government’s unpopular and ill-advised auto policy has compounded the woes for vehicle importers. The number of automobiles coming into the country has already dropped by half with the ports of neighbouring countries especially Cotonou Port reaping the bounties of our imprudence. Cotonou Port has practically become ‘Nigeria’s largest port’.
The naira hit a record low against the US dollar this year leading to concerns that an extended period of limbo will have wider consequences. The stock market has also been badly depressed by the socio-political environment. The Nigerian Stock Exchange has become one of the worst performing in the world.
We are a nation on pause. Everything waits till government policies unfold.
With no cabinet in place, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele finds himself discussing policies usually reserved for the Finance Minister.
The CBN policy restricting the sales of foreign exchange to importers of select items has compounded the miseries of the business community. The policy is a dark alley leading to further desolations.
“I read an advertisement in a paper that shortly after we announced the foreign exchange exclusion for the importation of tomato paste they advertised for almost 1,000 jobs,” Emefiele said in justifying the policy, citing the example of a tomato paste company, a sector that experts do not in fact expect to flourish now.
Emefiele has ruled out another naira devaluation but the MPC last week loosened monetary policies to inject liquidity into banks, which had been forced to transfer government revenues to a CBN account as part of an anti-corruption drive.
Are we seeing a repeat of what General Buhari did in 1984 when he stepped up import controls, stifling the economy?
This uncertainty affects straightforward business decisions every day. And I can’t really think of another time in recent memory when it had been this weighty.

Monday, 21 September 2015

We must dump rationalization to fight the rot at our ports

Trapped in the morass of a thieving and an uncaring governing elite that has done everything but govern well, the Nigerian Ports that constitute one of, if not, the most veritable gateways of trade between the import-driven economy and the rest of the world, appear riddled with endemic corruption. Everywhere you go, from the Federal Ministry of Transport, the supervisory ministry that overseers the entire gamut of transport and logistics industry; the Nigerian Ports Authority – a major parastatal in the maritime sub-sector, and to the Nigerian Customs Service – the para-military agency that polices the land, air and sea borders of the country, all your nostrils can sniff is the putrid stench of corruption. And, to all intents and purposes, the three major priorities in all these agencies are: corruption, corruption and corruption.
Dan Amor, June 2012

Nigerian ports are quite expensive but the reasons go much beyond the simplistic argument by the uninitiated who blame it all on shipping companies and terminal operators. The issue is much deeper than that.
Corruption is the main reason why our ports are expensive. There are several unreceipted payments within the system. Unfortunately those who shout the loudest are major contributors to the malaise.
A publication titled ‘Why Does Cargo Spend Weeks in Sub-Saharan African Ports?’ written by Gaël Raballand, Salim Refas, Monica Beuran, and Gözde Isik and published by the World Bank in 2012 ranked Nigerian ports as having the highest cargo dwell time in Sub-Saharan Africa. The book is the outcome of research conducted on ports operations in six countries in the region.
The authors of the book claimed that most ports in Sub-Saharan Africa have average cargo dwell times of about 20 days, compared to three to four days in most large international ports. They blamed the trend on the low level of professionalism of importers and clearing and forwarding agents and the strategies of shippers.
Even the most impenitent critics of the 2006 ports reform programme are agreed that, overall, private terminal operators have added great value to the system by enhancing operations at the terminals, thus contributing to the tremendous boost in ship traffic and cargo throughput Nigerian ports are recording.
Unfortunately, however, the good tidings delivered by the ports reform programme are being fouled by the fact that the cost of doing business at the seaports has remained high owing to corrupt tendencies in the system, largely promoted by the depreciatory roles of officials of government agencies.
A Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) Report released in 2013 by a consortium comprising the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption (TUGAR), and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Nigerian ports revealed that an importer or agent will require a minimum of 79 signatures of government officials to clear his/her goods at the gateways to the nation’s economy.
This shocking revelation came to the fore after the ICPC, TUGAR and the BPP met with maritime industry stakeholders in Apapa to validate the CRA Rreport. One of the consultants to the CRA Study, who did the presentation of the report to stakeholders at the validation meeting, Constantine Palicarsky, also identified lack of standard operating procedure by government agencies as a major hindrance to ports operations, thus giving rise to corruption in the system.
“It takes 79 signatures to process a cargo in some ports, while, in other ports, it takes up to 100 signatures. This shows that the process is not harmonised, giving rise to corruption,” Palicarsky said.
Identifying rationalization as one of the reasons why corruption persists at the ports, saying that people rationalise corrupt practices, giving excuses why they should not be held culpable, he added: “If we cannot address rationalization, we cannot address corruption.”
Palicarsky also identified ineffective administrative practices and weak institutions as major causes of corruption in the nation’s ports. Other causes of corruption in the system, according to the report, include widespread poverty, with over 70 per cent of Nigerians living below poverty line, serious security problems and lack of independent institution where corruption occurring in the ports can be reported.
The report also identified huge discretionary powers enjoyed and exercised by officials of government agencies as a major source of corrupt practices at the ports.
The CRA findings confirmed that government officials in the ports not only enjoy huge discretionary powers, but also are also able to delay indefinitely the required signing of documents without consequence.
The study was conducted in six major Nigerian ports, including the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Tin-Can Island Port, Port-Harcourt Port, Onne Port, Warri Port and Calabar Port.
Just last month, the World Bank rated Nigeria among the 16 worst nations in the world in the area of doing business and the third most difficult country for cross-border trade in the Economic Community of West African States region.
A report by the bank specifically placed the nation in 170th position out of 185 world economies polled.
It gave some of the parameters used for the ranking as starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
The report listed the parameters used for the regional rating as the time and cost (excluding tariff) associated with exporting and importing standardised cargo or goods by sea transport; document preparation; Customs clearance and inspections; inland transport and handling; as well as port and terminal handling.
In the ECOWAS region, Burkina Faso was ranked the most difficult country for trade across borders at 174. Mali came second at 163 while Nigeria ranked third at 159.
Gambia was ranked the easiest country for trade across borders in the ECOWAS region at 77; Senegal came second at 79 while Cape Verde came third at 101.
While it takes an average of 19 days to export goods at $1,040 per container and with six documents in the Gambia, it takes an average of 22.9 days to export goods in Nigeria at $1,564 per container and with nine documents, according to the report.
It stated that a trader in Gambia would require an average of 19 days to import cargo at $745 per container with six documents. But in Nigeria, it would take an average of 33 days to import cargo at $1,959.5 per container with13 documents.
There were also slight variations in the cost of exports and imports in Lagos when compared with the entire country. In Lagos, for instance, the cost of exports per container was put at $1,380.
The report gave its breakdown as document preparations cost, $280 for 12 days; customs clearance and inspection cost of $350 for three days; inland transportation and handling cost, $300, to take three days.
For imports, documents preparation would take a period of 14 days at $330; customs clearance and inspections, 12 days at $360; inland transportation and handling, two days at $400.
A list of the documents required for imports in Nigeria was given as Bill of lading, Cargo Release Order, Combined Certificate of Value and Origin, Commercial invoice, exit gate, Form M, Letter of Credit, Manufacturer’s Certificate of Production (SONCAP), packing list, payment receipt of customs fees and duties, Pre-arrival Assessment Report, Single Goods Declaration Form and Terminal Handling receipts.
Documents required for export include; Bill of Lading, Cargo Release Order, Commercial Invoice, Customs Export Declaration, Form NXP, Inspection report, Packing List, Technical Standard/Health certificate and Terminal Handling receipts.
Ironically, those whose voices we hear the most are beneficiaries of this jerky system. The more chaotic it is, the better for their pockets. They will rationalize where it benefits them, condemn where it doesn’t and device clever ways of passing the blame, deceiving and confusing the public.
How else do you explain the fact that despite the high and alarming costs identified above, groups are still planning to introduce various charges that are not linked to any services at the port? And they rationalize it!
If you ask me, all charges should be on hold irrespective of what it is called. Let us trim the existing ones and plan to at least match Gambia in the next one year. This should be the crux of economic regulation.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Ban of 113 oil tankers and Nigeria's crude oil trading terms

The decision by the federal government to ban some 113 vessels from lifting crude oil from the 27 oil terminals within the length and breadth of Nigeria's territorial waters in July could not have been justified.
Reasons adduced for the ban by NNPC Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division, Gbenga Komolafe were neither convincing nor supportable by facts.
In a letter dated July 15, Komolafe merely stated that, "The NNPC has prohibited 113 tankers from engaging in crude oil/gas loading activities in any of the terminals within the Nigerian territorial waters until further notice."
He said the affected vessels had also been barred from movements within Nigerian territorial waters forthwith.
I expected more but when none was forthcoming, I raised alarm over the implication of such move especially as it involved sovereign interests. You don't just place a blanket ban on ships without adducing cogent reasons for your action. If Nigeria had ocean-going vessels, a reciprocal action would have been taken against them by affected countries.
I think some NNPC officials, in their desire to look good before President Muhammadu Buhari misled him to ban these ships. Some of the so-called banned vessels had not visited Nigeria in five years. Some had even been scrapped and were no longer trading.
As I expected and predicted, the international community kicked.  Global oil tanker industry association, INTERTANKO kicked.
It sent a letter of protest, demanding that the ban be lifted immediately as no grounds had been established for the rash measure.
INTERTANKO, whose independent members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet, said in a letter to the NNPC, dated July 22, that there were no "evidence or grounds" given for the ban.
"INTERTANKO protests in the strongest possible way that these bans should be lifted with immediate effect until grounds and evidence for the ban have been given to each vessel and vessel owner/operator, and the owner/operator has had an opportunity to respond," the association's General Counsel, Michele White, wrote in the letter.
"The timing of the ban is clearly a political signal to show the Buhari administration is clamping down on oil theft," said Alex Vines, head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House.
"The challenge now is for the Nigerian authorities to provide credible proof that these indexed vessels were engaged in illicit activities," he added.
But credible proof could not be provided and a volte-face became inevitable. The face saving measure was for NNPC to claim that it had obtained some form of undertakings and "Letter of Comfort" from oil terminal operators and "off-takers of Nigerian oil and gas" - a guarantee that nominated ships would be free and would not be used for any illegal activity whatsoever.
The point here is that such decisions should never be taken again without due diligence because it creates a dent on Nigeria's image and further pushes us down the ladder of Ease of Doing Business.
Again, the 113 tankers flip-flop highlights the importance of the urgent need to empower Nigerian shipping companies to own vessels that will be engaged in crude oil lifting.
Nigeria loses about 30% additional value that would accrue from its crude sales if it controls the shipping component.
It is a shame that top NNPC officials have worked hard over the past 50 years to deprive Nigerians the opportunity to transport the nation's crude oil because of pecuniary gains.
President Buhari will carve his name in gold if he reverses the trading terms of Nigeria's crude oil from Free on Board (FOB) to Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF).
For emphasis, FOB is a trade term in international commercial law specifying the point at which the seller transfers ownership of the goods to the buyer. Under the Incoterms 2010 standard published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), FOB is used to define ownership transfer – usually at the point of sale. The seller of the cargo does not control the means of transportation while in the case of CIF, the seller is required to arrange for the carriage of the goods to the port of destination and provide the buyer with the documents necessary to obtain the goods from the carrier.
According to the ICC, the official definition of CIF stipulates that, "The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination."
The seller is also responsible for insuring the goods to cover the risk of loss or damage during carriage. Further insurance beyond the required minimums must be agreed upon between the buying and selling parties, or must be arranged for separately by the buyer.
Ironically, we import on CIF terms but export FOB. Nigeria is reputed to be the only OPEC nation selling its crude oil FOB.
If our crude oil sales term is then changed to CIF, a minimum of one trillion naira will accrue into the coffers of this nation annually. Shipping companies will flourish, insurance companies will blossom and a minimum of 50,000 additional jobs will be created every year over the next four years.
NNPC's usual argument advanced at various fora that I have attended had been that Nigerian shipping companies lack requisite capacity and expertise to acquire and operate very large crude carriers and ultra large crude carriers.

I say not so. Give them the chance and see if they won't perform.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Adieu Captain Solomon Omoteso

I have fond memories of Captain Solomon Abiodun Omoteso who died at the age of 72 on Monday last week. He was a professional to the core. His total devotion was to the maritime industry. He knew nothing else. We became somewhat close in 2006. He was a Technical Consultant to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and together with a few other experts, we accompanied then Managing Director of NPA (and Omoteso's bosom friend), Chief Adebayo Sarumi on a working tour to South Africa. We were to attend the graduation ceremony of some cadet pilots trained by NPA and also tour some port locations in the former apartheid enclave. The present Managing Director of NPA, Mallam Habib Abdullahi was the chief coordinator of the trip. He was Assistant General Manager, Human Resources at the time. The port concession exercise was at its peak.
Omoteso was full of humours as he regaled us with stories of his various escapades, adventures and professional voyages around the world. Since that trip, we stayed closely in touch. It was one trip I would never forget as I freely mingled with great minds in the shipping sector across the globe. Nigeria's immediate past Alternate Permanent Secretary to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Capt. Ibrahim Olugbade was on the trip also. He was Sarumi's Special Assistant (Marine) at the time. Sadly we returned to Nigeria on the night of the ADC plane crash that claimed the life of the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido and 97 others. Waisu Yaro, then Executive Director Finance and Administration of NPA was on the ill-fated plane that fateful black Sunday October 29, 2006. The news of the tragedy hit us as we alighted from the South Airways plane.
Omoteso was passionate about maritime manpower development. He was instrumental to dragging Tina Woehling from the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) all the way from New York to Nigeria to convince stakeholders on the need to team up to train young hands to take over from the ageing mariners. Tina I met earlier during my training at GMATS. The result of Tina's visit was the establishment of Mantral Maritime Training Centre at Tinapa by Omoteso and his bosom friend - Chief Sarumi.
Omoteso incorporated me into the Nigerian Association of Master Mariners (NAMM) Committee set up in 2010 to mark the maiden edition of the United Nations annual Day of the Seafarer. We had a glorious event with a large turnout of seafarers at Onikan Stadium. Omoteso discharged himself from his sick bed to attend the event. He even gave a speech, against my advice.
While I served as President of the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN), he was at hand to support. He honoured every invitation we sent to him despite his failing health. And when some of us came together last year to celebrate Chief Sarumi's 70th birthday, Omoteso rose up to the glorious occasion as a true friend.
Born on the 24th December 1943 in Mopa, Mopamuro Local Government Area of Kogi State, Omoteso attended King Edward VII Nautical School in London for his pre-sea training from 1963 to 1964.
He went through all the relevant maritime courses leading to the issuance of Class I Master Mariner Certificate of Competence in Liverpool and had his practical sea training with Elder Depster Line from 1963 to 1968 and the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in 1984.
He held a Class 1 (Master Mariner) Certificate of Competence, 1976 and Diploma in International Labour Organization (ILO) Port Workers Development Programme 2003.
He was a facilitator during the International Maritime Organization (IMO) preparatory meetings on the establishment of Port State Control for West and Central African in 1996; facilitator for the establishment of African Maritime Pilots Association in Dakar, Senegal 2010 and Organised African Manning and Training Conference in Abuja 2005 and Ghana 2009. He served as Acting Managing Director of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL) in 1990.
In 1992, Omoteso voluntarily retired from the NNSL. Between July 1992 and 2001 he was the Managing Director of East West Coast Marine Services Limited - a maritime firm engaged in shipping, agency, consultancy and international ship chandling.
He consulted for several organisations including the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron; Nigerian Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigeria Ports Authority and the defunct Joint Maritime Labour Industrial Council (JOMALIC).
Unfortunately, NAMM is losing quite a number of its members. The death of Capt. Cosmos Niagwan, Capt. Emmanuel Omotayo and Capt. Alaba is a grim reminder that life is ephemeral.
Adieu Captain.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Wanted: An Unbiased Ports Regulator

By Bolaji Akinola
The need for a permanent economic regulator at the nation's seaport is important for the consolidation of the nation's port reforms carried out in 2006.
Before the reforms, Nigerian ports were bedeviled by a high level of inefficiency including unnecessary delays in the turnaround time for ships and high cargo dwell time. Most of us remember how vessels had to wait for almost 40 days before they were able to berth at the port. The dearth of cargo handling equipment made operations at the various ports hellish. But with the concession of 2006, the story has changed.
Vessels now sail straight to berth without delays. The stronghold of the 'mafia' that held the port by the jugular has since been broken. The various congestion surcharges imposed on the ports by shipping lines have since been removed.
One cannot forget the congestion surcharge slammed on the ports by a liner conference known as the Europe-West Africa Trade Agreement (EWATA). That surcharge varied from USD1,000 to as much as USD2,500 per TEU or FEU as the case may be. The private terminal operators or concessionaries were able to eliminate this surcharge less than six months after they took over operations at the port thereby saving the economy over N100 billion annually.
Despite the success of the port reform, the need to appoint a permanent port economic regulator remains paramount.
It must be noted that the concession agreement recognizes the Nigerian Ports Authority, which is the lessor, as interim regulator of the port "until there is a change in the law by the National Assembly".
Some stakeholders in the maritime industry have therefore expressed concerns over the suitability of Nigerian Shippers' Council as the economic regulator in the shipping industry.
This anxiety stems from the fact that the traditional role of the Council has placed a moral burden on the agency to act as an impartial and unbiased umpire in the process of dispute resolution between the service providers and the consumers of their service.
In February 2014 and after much horse- trading, the former presidency of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, through a presidential fiat, directed the Nigerian Shippers' Council to assume the interim role of commercial regulator in the port industry.
The new status confers on the Council the responsibility of regulating the commercial activities of shipping service providers and the consumers.
However, prior to this ad-hoc arrangement, the Nigerian Shippers' Council was primarily established to protect the interests of the consumers of the shipping services provided by terminal operators and shipping companies.
These consumers include shippers, importers and exporters.
The formation of Shippers' Council worldwide, especially in the developing countries, followed the general agitation against shipping service providers whose activities the shippers often complained about.
However, the agitations crystalized into what later became known as a new World Maritime Order in 1965 which encapsulated in the UN Liner Code for Liner Conferences document that strongly recommended the formation of National Shippers' Councils in developing countries also referred to as Group of 77.
UNCTAD confirmed this new order by endorsing the formation of Shippers' Councils in its 1968 meeting in New Delhi, India. Thereafter, Shippers' Councils sprang up in various parts of the world, including the developed countries. The first Shippers' Council in Africa was set up in 1968 in Cote d'Ivoire while the Nigerian Shippers' Council was established in 1978.
Therefore, to all intents and purposes, the formation of national shippers' organisations in the developing countries was to act as a countervailing force against the operational activities of ship owners and other service providers.
It is however instructive to note that the traditional functions of Shippers' Council all over the world remains the protection of the cargo interests – importers and exporters.
One is not aware of any other part of the world where the Shippers' Council combines this role of siding with the consumers of shipping services with the responsibility of regulating the commercial activities of service providers.
Some discerning critics therefore noted that the development in Nigeria is akin to standing logic on its head.
How could government ensure the neutrality and impartiality of Nigerian Shippers' Council in a dispute arising from a transaction between a shipper whose interest the Council was statutorily created to protect and a service provider, of which it is likely to have a biased mind towards?
Simply put: the Shippers' Council is an interested party at the port. What the port need is an unbiased umpire.
As a result of this perception (and reality), service providers have already expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of the NSC to act as unbiased umpire at the ports because it will naturally always side with one party – the shippers. And this is clearly seen in the alliance between the NSC and the Shippers Association of Lagos State, who operate more as Siamese twins.
Some legal experts have explained that the import of the declaration of the service providers suggest that one of the parties in the process has already passed a vote of no confidence on the umpire.
Just like in a law court in the process of dispute resolution, if one of the parties in the dispute raises a doubt, no matter how remote, on the impartiality of the umpire, it is incumbent on such person or body to disqualify himself or be disqualified.
In the case of the NSC, the terminal operators and shipping companies have raised serious concerns over what they regarded as unwarranted and unguided statements of the NSC, which tend to undermine the successes and achievements recorded under the port concession programme of the Federal Government.
According to them, the statements, which often most of the time painted the services at the ports in bad light, are capable of scaring away genuine investors, thus greatly hampering the sure-footed stride towards efficiency at the port.
The operators also believe that the way and manner the Council has chosen to act as a commercial regulator has clearly compromised the discharge of such onerous duty.
The service providers have strongly shown their disapproval to the ways and manners at which the Council was carrying out this new role through law court.
I believe that the traditional role of the NSC, which was set up "to protect the interests of shippers" has established an intrinsic link between the shippers and the Council.
The service providers are therefore justified and have reasonable grounds on which they predicated their doubt about the impartiality and unbiased stance of the Shippers' Council as a commercial regulator.
This lack of trust and cordiality between the NSC and the terminal operators may not only hamper the capacity of the agency to discharge the role of a regulator, but it is capable of giving the consumers of shipping services the short end of the stick.
This will not create the mutual trust needed in the discharge of such vital role as being commercial regulator which is meant to get the confidence and respect of all the parties involved in the resolution of any dispute that may eventually arise.
The port needs an umpire that will not only check operators but also have temerity to curtail the excesses of port users and government agencies.
One is therefore wont to side with the call by some stakeholders that government should strip the NSC of the economic regulator toga while a completely neutral agency should be set up – with no affiliation to any of the interests – to regulate the port.
The NSC should therefore concentrate on advocating for cargo interests.
So while the Nigerian Ports Authority fulfills the concession agreement by acting as interim port regulator, it is imperative for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the National Transport Commission (NTC) bill which will create the legal body specifically charged with carrying out the functions of a commercial port regulator.
President Mohammed Buhari has promised to reverse all the actions and inactions of the previous administration that are likely to hamper the development of the economy. The designation of the NSC as the economic regulator in the port should be seen as one of such actions created through presidential fiat but which has since put the maritime industry on the boil.

– Akinola is the CEO of Ships and  Ports.