Jime made this known at a stakeholders sensitisation programme/launch of Operational Manual for Inland Dry Ports in Nigeria while allaying stakeholders’ fears on the efficiency of the ports.
The programme was organised by the NSC under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of transportation in Lagos State.
According to Jime, the inland dry ports were conceived to operate in the same way as the seaport, the only difference is that there is no sea where the dry port is established.
“This implies that all the agencies of government that are concerned with cargo clearance in the seaport like the Nigeria Customs Service will be present in the dry port.
“Also the Federal Ministry of transportation designating all the dry ports to be port of origin and destination, clearly indicates that the ports are made effectively to function the same way as the seaports.
“So stakeholders will not experience any constraints as they are learning from mistakes experienced at the seaport.
“Also, two months ago, I had the privilege of sitting with the Comptroller General of Customs and we instituted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Customs to provide an enabling environment to ensure the efficacy of the dry port,” he said.
Jime said the strategic importance of producing the manual which articulated the step-by-step procedures for receiving, storing, handling and delivery of cargoes as well as highlighting the operations, responsibilities of agencies and timelines for discharging such tasks was sine- qua non.
“ The manual describes functions and activities of the dry ports and specifies layout designs, outlines the activities that are to be performed, laying down the sequence of operations, address operations’ procedures as it relates to export and import activities and others,” he said.
He noted that the manual was based on best international practices adapted to suit the Nigerian context.
He added that each dry port would have its own specialties, organisational implementation, layout constraints, and services offered and would therefore amend aspects of the manual on a case-by-case basis.
“It may be pertinent to state that this manual will be used as a measure of performance by the regulator (NSC) and will be subjected to future review to be in tandem with obtainable best practices, upon agreement of the two parties (operator and regulator),” he said.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Muazu Sambo while unveiling the manual, observed with joy the collaboration the ministry, and NSC were forming with the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Nigerian Ports Authority, Customs and other stakeholders to ensure its implementation.
“Equally appreciate state governments where these inland dry ports are located. It is indeed worthy of note that these governments donate land free from all encumbrances, pay compensations where necessary, and provide infrastructure.
“I urge participants to take full advantage of this sensitisation workshop for full implementation of the operational manual as a workable policy document that will drive the operations of the Inland dry ports in Nigeria,” he said.
Also, Mr. Leonard Ogamba, President, of Lagos State Shippers Association noted that the manual was a document that would bring pressure to bear on government agencies when they failed to do the needful.
Mr. Remi Ogungbemi, President, the Association of Maritime Truck Owners(AMATO) urged the ministry to remove all difficulties that hindered cargo evacuation at the port so that the manual would work effectively.
Mr. Ayodele Durowaiye, Assistant General Manager of Operations, NPA, noted that the country”s ports were operating way beyond its capacity and so the need to introduce the inland dry ports.
“The only way to optimise the port is to have facilities like this, it will provide options for shippers and consignees if they function effectively,” he said.
Ajibola Odusanya, the Customs Deputy Controller in charge of Administration at the Apapa port, noted that Customs was ready to collaborate and cooperate to make the vision to come true.
“To ensure decongestion at the port, customs have introduced scanners for smooth operations and they will ensure that officers escort containers to the inland depot at any given time,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports (NAN) that other stakeholders present at the programme are: the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Costco shipping, Cross Marine Services, TinCan Island Container Terminal and others.
Customs, UN agency collaborate to fight smuggling
“On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”
He appreciated how they traveled from afar to inform the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.
The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.
The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.
He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through a technological approach.
He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.
On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”
According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.
He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.
UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.
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