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Insecurity, lack of automation, bane of 24- hr port operations at Nigerian ports—Russo.

Eyewitness reporter
Rising insecurity in the country, as well as lack of full automation of port processes, have been identified as part of the factors militating against the attainment of 24- hour port operations in the country.
The Managing Director of Port and Terminal Multi-Services Limited (PTML), Ascanio Russo, who made this disclosure recently in Lagos, also fingered bad access roads that have hampered seamless evacuation of cargo from the ports, a factor he said combines to made 24-hour port operation near impossible.
He noted that until these challenges are resolved, achieving round-the-clock port operations will still be far-fetched at Nigerian ports.
“On the aspect of 24/7 port operations and cargo delivery; it wouldn’t work until banks can receive Customs duty payments online seamlessly.

“Besides GTbank, no other bank can do automatic payment of duties. So, after the banks close on Friday, people can’t make customs duty payments,” he explained.

“For us at PTML, we provide 24- hour service a day, but insecurity has discouraged other agencies involved in cargo clearance to work at night.

” For instance,  freight forwarders cannot work at night over the fears of being attacked by armed robbers or exposed to other threats around the ports,” he said.

He however urged the government to address the insecurity and take action on the construction of the port access roads in order to have seamless port operations in the country.

“We are already working 24 -hour operations. We receive vessels all the time and are ready to deliver cargo even during the night but the challenge is insecurity.

” We need to address the issue of insecurity and congestion because clearing agents are not comfortable to work during the night because they don’t feel safe.

“The same thing goes for Customs officers and we cannot blame them because the area we operate can be volatile and no one will want to stay out late at night because when they leave, they may be attacked by armed robbers or any other threat which may arise.

“We also have challenges with the banks about paying duties online. Another challenge we are having in our terminal at Mile 2 is the congestion on the road.

“We can deliver over 1,000 cars a day because of the digital solution we offer but unfortunately, the road is blocked. So the vehicles cannot get out of the terminal because there is no space on the road to receive them,” he said.

Russo said while the terminal and its parent company, Grimaldi Nigeria have adopted the use of technology to enhance its operation, some government agencies involved in cargo clearance are yet to key into full digitisation of their operations thus maintaining human contact at the port.

 “We have digitalised everything which could have been digitalised and we would have digitised even more if not for certain practice with those we are interacting with as some of them are not digitalised.

“From the arrival of the vessel to the delivery of the cargo basically our clients can do everything online. They don’t even need to come to the port. My dream is that one day, I will come to the office and I will not see all this crowd around the port.

“The reason why PTML has never experienced congestion is that we have the real solution, otherwise with the number of vehicles coming into this port terminal, there will be crazy congestion but because we have invested in digitisation and still investing there, we don’t have any congestion.”

Russo said the company has adopted the use of barges to receive export cargoes and move empty containers.

“Because of this off-dock terminal, we have been moving cargo in and out with our barges. We have been overwhelmed by requests from customers to work with us because they know that with our solution, the export cargo can access the terminal without any delay. This is why last year; we were the first carrier of export containers.”

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Headlines

IGP grieves over assault on policewoman

Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola

 

— orders prosecution of culprits
 Owolola Adebola

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba,  has strongly condemned the grievous assault of a female Police Officer, Inspector Teju Moses, by her principal who is a Legal practitioner and human rights activist, Prof. Zainab Duke Abiola and her domestic staff comprising the housemaid, one Rebecca Enechido and a male suspect currently at large.

Zainab Duke, a Mbaise-born activist, grievously assaulted her orderly in the company of some accomplices on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at her residence in Garki, Abuja, due to the refusal of the orderly to breach professional ethics by carrying out menial and domestic chores at her house.

The IGP also directed the express prosecution of the arrested suspects who are currently in Police custody, as the preliminary investigation shows overwhelming evidence of culpability on the part of the Professor and her domestic staff.

The IGP has equally tasked the investigative team to ensure that the fleeing suspect is arrested and made to face the wrath of the law.

It is pertinent to clarify that the suspect, Prof. Zainab, who name-drops the IGP, his family members, and other officers in the top hierarchy of the Force has no acquaintance with the Police in any form as erroneously peddled on social media.

The Inspector-General of Police who similarly ordered the withdrawal of all Police personnel attached to the Professor expressed consternation at the fact that an individual who claims to be an advocate for Human Rights could stoop so low as to violate the rights of another individual, a police officer tasked with ensuring her protection.

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Customs

Customs collects N1.7trn  revenue in 8 months

CGC, Ali

 

–embarks on aggressive revenue hunts to meet target

The Eyewitness reporter

The Nigeria Customs Service has collected a whooping sum of  N1,755,386,486,390.02  as revenue in the first eight months of the year spanning January and August.

The service made the highest monthly earnings of N241,903,781,854.46 in August as the service intensifies its aggressive revenue drive to meet the expectations of the Federal Government which has come to rely on the revenue from the service to fund its critical project.

This follows the diversification of government to non-oil sectors and expands its tax base due to the dwindling revenue from the oil sector.
The revenue in the first eight months of 2022 is N363,436,321,614.95 higher than N1,391,950,164,775.97 the customs collected in the corresponding period of 2021.

Abuja has increased its focus on non-oil revenue sources, prompting higher expectations from revenue collection agencies such as the NCS, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.

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Headlines

Jamoh wears OFR diadem as Buhari confers national honour on NIMASA DG

 

The Eyewitness reporter 
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Bashir Jamoh, has expressed deep appreciation to President Mohammed Buhari for being conferred with one of the highest national honours in Nigeria, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).

The Office of the Honourable Minister, Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, has conveyed this good news to Dr Jamoh in a letter of Award which has slated the investiture ceremony for the International Conference Center (ICC), Abuja on Monday, 10th October 2022.

Recall that Dr. Jamoh had served the Nigerian maritime sector as an administrator for over 30 years when he was appointed by President Buhari as the NIMASA DG in March 2020.

Since that time, he has overseen the successful deployment of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure otherwise known as the Deep Blue Project which has played a major role in achieving a reduction of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea to its barest minimum since 1994 and culminating in Nigeria being removed from the infamous piracy red list by the International Maritime Bureau, IMB.

A hallmark of his tenure at the helm of NIMASA has been his institutionalization of collaboration among stakeholders, within and outside the country, to achieve significant milestones in the sector.

One notable example of this is his initiation of the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum/ Shared Awareness and De-confliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), which has demonstrated the positive outcomes of information sharing among regional and non-regional military forces in achieving a secure maritime space.

Reacting to the news on his social media handle, Dr Jamoh expressed gratitude for being considered for the honour stating:

“Words cannot express how humbled I feel to be so considered for the National Honour as an Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR).

“When I began my maritime journey 30 years ago, little did I know that Almighty Allah would so favour me to rise to the position of NIMASA DG, let alone to be considered for one of the highest honours in the land”.

Dr Jamoh especially thanked His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Standing Committee on National Honours Award for deeming him worthy of the honour while also appreciating everyone who had supported him throughout his tenure as NIMASA Director General, especially the maritime stakeholders.

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