By Ignatius Ushie
The Federal Ministry of Transportation is to synergise with the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the disposal of over-time cargo to pave way for effective and efficient service delivery at the ports.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, made this disclosure during a courtesy call on the Acting Comptroller General of NCS, Bashir Adeniyi, at the agency’s Headquarters in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary noted that it was pertinent to be amongst the first to pay a visit to the Acting Comptroller and extend the Ministry’s well wishes on his recent appointment and brief him on the Committee that was set up comprising the Ministry, its agencies and the NCS on disposal of overtime cargoes at all the ports in Nigeria.
Speaking on the need to clear the ports, Ajani said: “The places are over spilling with overtime cargoes. Some dating way more than 10 years. We are not even sure of the integrity of the goods, but for our whole operational services, this is impeding service delivery and efficiency”.
According to her, the terms of reference consist but not limited to: sensitize stakeholders on the need to clear up the ports, audit of overtime cargoes at all ports and recommendation of appropriate modalities to dispose them and free the ports for better service delivery.
Responding, the Acting Comptroller General, NCS, Bashir Adeniyi, informed the delegation that with the recent Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023, adequate provisions for dealing with issues of port congestion that were not in prior mandate of the Service will reposition the body to ensure that Nigerian ports are efficient and meets the needs of it users.
“We have adequate provisions, that talks about temporary storage of cargoes in our ports, meaning that the new Act recognizes the fact that no longer shall our ports be used as storage facilities for cargoes. Our law provides for only 28 days dwell time for cargoes and by the 30th day the law provides that all uncleared cargoes, all uncleared goods, Customs shall commence the process that will lead to their sales, disposals or destructions as it might be”. Adeniyi, said
Furthermore, the Comptroller General noted that there are also provisions in the new laws that provide sanctions for people who abandon goods in the ports.
He, however, promised that there will be consultations with stakeholders and that all the processes and procedures will be followed to ensure that while trying to free up spaces, Customs does not compromise any law.
The comptroller further observed that for Nigerian ports to run efficiently and competitively, the collaboration and cooperation of the Ministry, its agencies, and terminal operators will be counted upon to facilitate seamless operations.