By Steve Agbota, Lagos
A clearing agent and Managing Director, Widescope International Logistics Limited, Dr Segun Musa, has said that some stakeholders have been bribed into advocating a return of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) back to the ports.
In a statement issued on Monday, Dr Musa explained that SON and some other agencies were asked to leave the ports in 2011 because they were frustrated with cargo clearance procedures.
‘I was surprised to read that some stakeholders gathered to endorse the return of SON to the ports and it is obvious that those involved are most likely to have either collected bribes to compromise or are new in the industry,’ he stated.
‘For every critical stakeholder in the maritime industry that has been around for over 10 years now, such person would easily remember why we agitated for the removal of SON, NAFDAC and other multiple agencies whose roles in the ports is to frustrate cargo clearance/trade facilitation.
‘We live in the 21 century where ports clearance activities globally are being automated and clearance processing is now being digitalised. Why will some groups be so myopic to drag us back due to personal interests? It is obvious that not everyone that claimed to be stakeholders are truly stakeholders but some are only interested in satisfying their pockets.
‘I am highly disappointed in all the self-acclaimed stakeholders that endorsed this backwardness for our industry and assured that such proposal shall never see the light of the day,’ he explained.
He said the world is advancing and it’s better to advance along otherwise the world would advance without Nigeria and the only methodological approach is to embrace technological solutions to automate the port’s systems.
‘We live in a global neighbourhood where every country has advanced and keeps advancing it’s modus operandi in cargo clearance and ports operations to reduce physical contacts and encourage systems connectivity to ease port processes. Unfortunately, it is only Nigeria and a few underdeveloped countries that are left behind and still some individuals could stoop so low to propose backwardness or a return to the stone age for our maritime industry. This is most unfortunate and must be condemned generally.
‘We are working tirelessly to remove the few agencies in the ports and encouraging them to hook up to technology and systems audit available on the Customs platform that pushes all commodities to respective regulatory agencies and profiles any import not duly released to identify how it was exited.
‘How could any genuine stakeholder propose or prefer a step back to analogue instead of digital for our industry? May I appeal for the list of such stakeholders to be published so as to recognise those behind the backwardness of our industry,’ he queried.
Recall that Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the then Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, had in 2011 announced the eviction of SON, NAFDAC and some agencies from the ports.
She said the decision was to fast-track port processes at a time the ports were battling congestion, and delays in cargo clearing, which were hindering the ease of doing business policy of the Federal Government.
The post Stakeholders advocating SON return to seaports have been bribed – Segun Musa appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.