Stakeholders Calls On Govt To Implement Executive Order To Reduce Agencies In Seaports

By Clement Alphonsus
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The Federal Government has been advised to reduce the lengthy and cumbersome procedures in the ports, through implementing and enforcing the Executive Order on the reduction of agencies within the ports.

The National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), in an open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, noted that numerous government agencies at the ports are creating lengthy and cumbersome procedures, which has ultimately led to high cost of doing business at the nation’s gateways.

The group, in a letter by its president, Lucky Amiwero, called on the Federal Government to act and address the lengthy, cumbersome procedures and costly processes in the ports system by implementing the Port Related Offences Act No.61 of 1999.

He explained that the number of agencies that are allowed to be in the port as provided in Section 1-(1A) of the Act include: The Nigeria Customs Service; The Nigeria ports Authority; The Federal Air port Authority of Nigeria; The Nigerian Immigration Service; The Port Police; and inspection agents and the Licensed Customs Agents (LCA).

He quoted the act as emphasising that: “It shall be unlawful for any person, not being a duly authorised officer or agent of any of the following namely, to do any of the acts or things mentioned in subsection (2) of this section.”

While giving the background to the Act, Amiwero noted that the government in a bid to reduce the number of agencies in the ports has issued out circular that was never obeyed, which prompted the Federal Government under General Abdulsalami Abubakar to enact Act No. 61 of 1999.

According to him, “It was facilitated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee of National Facilitation (FAL/IMO) in line with FAL/IMO convention to facilitate maritime traffic by simplifying, minimising and harmonising processes and procedure in the arrival, stay and departure of ship and cargo and the application of World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) World Customs Organization Kyoto Convention on the Harmonization and Simplification of Customs procedure.

“The National Facilitation Committee (FAL/IMO) midwifed the process of the Port (Related offences, etc)(Admendment) Act No. 61 of 1999, in which National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA) served as a member."