By Joy Okoli

Maritime stakeholders have expressed concern over the conspicuous absence of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali at the inaugural strategic meeting of heads of maritime agencies.

The meeting was organized recently to enable the heads of the agencies close ranks with a view to finding lasting solutions to these various challenges currently plaguing the industry.

A source said “I do not want to make excuses for the CG, but even if he was so busy that could justify his physical presence, the least one would have expected from him was to send a representative either in Lagos or Abuja to stand in for him and express the views of the service.

“Anyone that operates in the country’s seaport industry whether as a regulator, service provider or consumer of such shipping services should be seriously concerned due to the unprecedented level of rot in the place. This also accounts for why many of us are excited by the decision of the heads of the agencies to close ranks with a view to addressing these issues as urgently as possible”, he said.

Meanwhile, government agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation have resolved to harmonise all issues relating to overlap in their statutory responsibilities with a view to forestalling any clash.

Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in Lagos after a meeting of heads of the agencies held in Lagos at the headquarters of the Nigerian Shippers Council.

Those in attendance at the meeting were Executive Secretary/CEO of the NSC, Mr. Hassan Bello; Jamoh; and Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman.   Others include Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, Dr. George Moghalu, and Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria MAN, Oron, Commodore Duja Effedua (Rtd), also joined via Zoom.

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DG NIMASA stated that this resolution is a sequel to a report of a ministerial committee, stressing that meetings like this are necessary to build synergy and create the right atmosphere for the overall progress of the economy.

“We have held the inaugural meeting for improved synergy and we hope to hold it on a monthly basis for the next four months. Due to the proximity of our corporate headquarters to each, a lot of gains will be achieved in a short while without the usual official bureaucracy.

“From our discussions and deliberations, we have decided on so many issues that concern national development, overlapping functions, and others.

“The Federal Ministry of Transport, which supervises these agencies had before now, inaugurated a committee and we have been working for close to a year now. We have now decided on who should take what responsibility and we are going ahead with that”, the DG said.

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