The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, has enjoined governments at all levels, and major stakeholders to utilise the dry ports as ports of origin to buoy the nation’s export potential.
Bello, who spoke when a team from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), visited the Council’s headquarters in Lagos, said Nigerians should support the Federal Government’s diversification projects to free the country from being import-dependent to becoming export-oriented.
He said the NSC had engaged in continuous dialogue with stakeholders to key into the export oriented projects, saying: “Enough is enough; we cannot allow empty containers to be exported back to their ports of origin anymore. This is why exporters should improve on exportation and utilise the opportunities.”
Bello cited Kaduna State as the largest producer of ‘ginger’, pointing out that stakeholders should tap into the opportunity by exporting the product based on clients’ specifications, and follow the rules guiding exportation.
He therefore commended exporters for the tremendous improvement on export production, saying that government would ensure that basic infrastructure were available for the exports to make Nigeria flourish.
The NSC has continued to promote the establishment of dry ports, otherwise known as Inland Container Depots (ICDs), and the Truck Transit Parks (TTP), scattered around the six geo-political zones of the country.
He said: “We need the support of the ICRC on the dry ports and Truck Transit Parks (TTP) projects because these projects are guinea pigs of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.
“Effective operations of the projects will take a lot of load off the highways which will be well coordinated because all the TTPs must link the seaports, as well as the dry ports,’’ Bello said.
Acting Director-General, ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, pledged to support the NSC to make Nigeria a preferred destination for all types of cargoes.In a related development, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS), has warned importers and shippers against importing deadly pests and diseases that can harm the nation’s agricultural produce.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting, organised for importers, exporters and clearing agents by the NSC recently, the Coordinating Director of the Service, Vincent Isegbe, advised importers and shippers to always get a certificate before importing their products in pallets.
He said: “Importers and exporters need to always play by the rules in order to preserve and safeguard the nation’s agricultural produce.“There are insects that are in wood pallets; we want to know which country you are taking them from, so we need to do risk analysis. If you want to import anything that has to do with wood pallets, come to our office for proper advice.”
He expressed the needed for Nigeria to key into the international trade policies, saying: “For Nigeria to abide to the international best practices in trade, there must be someone to package the goods, export it, and there must be someone to receive the exported goods.
That is why government has agencies that will handle the interface; there are also agencies that will come in when the interface has issues. We are working for the collective enhancement of trade in Nigeria and we are duty based to protect the interest of the country.”
Bello said the Council has viewed diversification as its Cardinal point, because “We need to think exportation instead of importation,” adding that it is important for regulators and stakeholders to always come together to find lasting solutions to challenges.
He assured that the NSC holds the Government’s diversification agenda in a very high esteem.“In the ease of doing business agenda by the government, all the agencies are now servants, and are there to attend to people. There are a lot of infringement in exportation and importation, and there will be more meeting like this,” he said.