The Federal Government has ordered automation of all agencies in the maritime sector of the economy as a way of controlling the entry of unwanted products into the country.
President Goodluck Jonathan gave the directive during stakeholders’ forum on the maritime industry with the theme: “Seamless Importation: Building Stakeholders Synergy and Fostering Trade without Compromising Standards,” organised by Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, in Lagos.
Jonathan who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Maritime, Mr.Oyewole Leke, said that the only difference between Nigeria and other countries that have evolved their maritime sector is automation, adding that things work in America because everything is automated.
According to him, Mr. President has directed that “We should automate all agencies in the maritime sector and link them together. Within the next three months this should be up and running, we are working on inter agencies collaboration of which the SON is just like one of 47.”
He said that the Nigerian port is the most expensive in the world, in terms of tariff of NPA, NIMASA and Customs, “other ports are more expensive than the Nigerian port and I have evidence to that. We run one of the cheapest ports. No one agency is responsible for all these, therefore they must work together.
“The risk premium importers pay on a car is about $300, a ship can carry five thousand cars, if you multiply 300 by five thousand that is 1.5 million. That is the amount Nigerians have paid to one ship, we have about 25 ships heading for Nigeria on a daily basis. You can imagine how much money we lose as a country, which is almost the money they use to run certain countries in Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, DG SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, added that a lot of local companies that are in production have gone down because they have not been able to compete with not just fake products but imported substandard products.
“We are all responsible for this and that is why today nobody is making tyre, nobody is making matches, there are lots of thing we use to produce some years back but today nobody is doing that.
“We need to do something to build a more robust economy for us all so that when our children come out of school they can find good job in factories and production places where people can work.
“We must make commitment to terminate the current scheme where we allow every kind of thing to come in, some of the substandard products are killing Nigerians; examples are the air conditioner, extension cables that melts as candle. As Nigerians we must build a better country for our children but we need to do it better to have a more robust country that we all will be proud of. We should search our conscience and move the Nigeria forward,” he said.