The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents has called on the Federal Government to consider creating a maritime ministry that will function separately as part of measures to grow the sub-sector for revenue generation.

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The association stressed that it was high time the government stopped lumping maritime industry with the Ministry of Transportation, noting that it had huge potential if allowed to perform on its own with technocrats put in place to run its affairs.

Speaking with newsmen in Lagos, Vice President of ANLCA, Dr Kayode Farinto, said the creation of a maritime ministry would also aid Nigeria when the African Continental Free Trade Area kick-starts next year.

He said, “It is high time the government stopped lumping maritime industry with the Ministry of Transportation. If the government creates a maritime ministry, the African Continental Free Trade Area can thrive under this ministry.”

He lamented that the Nigerian government had failed to show commitment towards the actualisation of AfCFTA, which according to him, would be of great advantage to the country if properly managed.

According to him, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, focused mostly on the railway sub-sector, thus giving little attention to the maritime industry.

He noted that with the scope of transportation ministry, maritime had not attained the set goals in the last four years of the Buhari-led administration, hence the treasures of the seas left yet untapped.

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He said, “The Ministry of Transportation is very big, which is why they cannot oversee all the departments under it. By creating a maritime ministry, we will reduce cost, create employment and generate more revenue and bring up innovation in the industry.

“Government should take maritime sector serious by fixing all the dilapidated infrastructure in the industry.”

Farinto also accused the Federal Ministry of Works of failing to synergise with key stakeholders in the maritime industry to expedite the completion of the port roads.

He said, “It is unfortunate that the Ministry of Works handling the port access roads is not in synergy with other ministries.

“Although 75 per cent of the road is completed, port users are still suffering from the menace created by gridlock around the port access roads.”

He called the government’s attention to the extortion of both transporters and freight forwarders.

He explained that loading a consignment from the port to Ikeja cost not less than N1.5m and blamed the high cost of haulage as a slight on the government.